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CD4(+)CD25(+) regulatory T cells (Treg) have been described as an important hurdle for immunotherapy. Engagement of glucocorticoid-induced TNF receptor-related protein (GITR) has emerged recently as an important mechanism to control the suppression of CD4(+)CD25(+) Treg. Furthermore, it has been documented extensively that GITR ligation is costimulatory for naive and activated T cells in the murine setting. However, little is known about the role of the human GITR ligand (huGITRL). We wanted to explore whether huGITRL could enhance antigen-specific T cell priming by dendritic cells (DC). First, we confirmed the endogenous expression of GITRL on HUVEC. We also detected GITRL expression on EBV-B cell lines, whereas no GITRL expression was observed on human monocyte-derived DC. Electroporation of GITRL mRNA in monocyte-derived DC resulted in a strong and long-lasting surface expression of GITRL. In contrast to data obtained in mice, no significant abrogation of Treg suppression by GITRL-expressing human DC was observed. Consistent with our mouse data, we showed that huGITRL is costimulatory for responder T cells. Furthermore, we found that GITRL-expressing DC primed increased numbers of Melan-A-specific CD8(+) T cells. We conclude that although huGITRL is not capable of alleviating Treg suppression of responder T cells, huGITRL overexpression on monocyte-derived DC enhances their capacity to induce antigen-specific T cell responses. Thus, GITRL incorporation in DC might improve the antitumor immune response after vaccination.

Original publication




Journal article


J Leukoc Biol

Publication Date





93 - 105


Antigen Presentation, Cells, Cultured, Dendritic Cells, Electroporation, Endothelium, Vascular, Humans, Immunity, Myeloid Cells, T-Cell Antigen Receptor Specificity, T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory, Tumor Necrosis Factors, Umbilical Cord