Immune stimulating complexes (ISCOMs) containing the saponin adjuvant Quil A are vaccine adjuvants that promote a wide range of immune responses in vivo, including delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) and the secretion of both T helper 1 (Th1) and Th2 cytokines. However, the antigen-presenting cell (APC) responsible for the induction of these responses has not been characterized. Here we have investigated the role of dendritic cells (DC), macrophages (Mphi) and B cells in the priming of antigen-specific CD4+ T cells in vitro by ISCOMs containing ovalbumin (OVA). OVA ISCOMs pulsed bone marrow (BM)-derived DC but not BM Mphi, nor naïve B cells prime resting antigen-specific CD4+ T cells, and this response is greatly enhanced if DC are activated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Of the APC found in the spleen, only DC had the capacity to prime resting antigen specific CD4+ T cells following exposure to OVA ISCOMs in vitro, while Mphi and B cells were ineffective. DC, but not B cells purified from the draining lymph nodes of mice immunized with OVA ISCOMs also primed resting antigen-specific CD4+ T cells in vitro, suggesting that DC are also critical in vivo. Using DC and T cells from interleukin (IL)-12 p40-/- mice, we also identified a crucial role for IL-12 in the priming of optimal CD4+ T cell responses by OVA ISCOMs. We suggest that DC are the principal APC responsible for the priming of CD4+ T cells by ISCOMs in vivo and that directed targeting of these vectors to DC may enhance their efficancy as vaccine adjuvants.
|Number of pages||10|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2003|