Monocyte derived dendritic cells have reduced expression of co-stimulatory molecules but are able to stimulate autologous T-cells in patients with MDS

26 Aug 2020

INTRODUCTION: Research has implied that the immune system plays a role in the pathogenesis of MDS and that T-cells are reacting to tumour antigen present on the surface of the malignant cells. This could imply that the immune system could be utilized to generate immune based therapy. The aim of this pilot study was to examine the feasibility of studying this further by analysing the interaction of dendritic cells with T-cells in a small cohort of MDS patients. METHODS: Dendritic cells were generated in 6 MDS patients and 9 controls by culturing monocytes with GM- CSF and IL-4. After activation with LPS and TNFa, the dendritic cells were analyzed for expression of co-stim- ulatory and activation antigens. Thereafter, they were co-cultured with T-cells and the T-cell response was examined by measuring the % change in expression of the activation antigen CD69. RESULTS: MDS MoDC had reduced expression of HLA-DR (p=0.006), CD11c (p=0.0004), CD80 (p=0.03) and CD86 (p=0.003), while resting T-cells from MDS patients had higher expression of the activation antigen CD69 on all subsets. The % change in CD69 expression increased significantly for both the control and MDS T-cells after co-culture with allogeneic dendritic cells, however this change was lower in the MDS group. Despite the increased CD69 expression prior to culture, MDS MoDC significantly up-regulated CD69 expression on autol- ogous T-cells to values that were statistically higher than control cells. CONCLUSION: This initial study suggests that the T-cells in MDS are able to respond to dendritic cells and are therefore probably not part of the malignant clone. It further implies that the dendritic cell population could be capable of presenting antigen and initiating an immune response and therefore further study is both feasible and warranted.