Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

PloS One










Harnessing the ability of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) to recognize and eradicate tumor or pathogen-infected cells is a critical goal of modern immune-based therapies. Although multiple immunization strategies efficiently induce high levels of antigen-specific CTLs, the initial increase is typically followed by a rapid contraction phase resulting in a sharp decline in the frequency of functional CTLs. We describe a novel approach to immunotherapy based on a transplantation of low numbers of antigen-expressing hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) following nonmyeloablative or partially myeloablative conditioning. Continuous antigen presentation by a limited number of differentiated transgenic hematopoietic cells results in an induction and prolonged maintenance of fully functional effector T cell responses in a mouse model. Recipient animals display high levels of antigen-specific CTLs four months following transplantation in contrast to dendritic cell-immunized animals in which the response typically declines at 4-6 weeks post-immunization. Majority of HSC-induced antigen-specific CD8+ T cells display central memory phenotype, efficiently kill target cells in vivo, and protect recipients against tumor growth in a preventive setting. Furthermore, we confirm previously published observation that high level engraftment of antigen-expressing HSCs following myeloablative conditioning results in tolerance and an absence of specific cytotoxic activity in vivo. In conclusion, the data presented here supports potential application of immunization by limited transplantation of antigen-expressing HSCs for the prevention and treatment of cancer and therapeutic immunization of chronic infectious diseases such as HIV-1/AIDS.

Original Publication Citation

Denning, W.L., Xu, J., Guo, S., Klug, C.A., & Hel, Z. (2011). Limited transplantation of antigen-expressing hematopoietic stem cells induces long-lasting cytotoxic T cell responses. PLoS One, 6(2), e16897. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016897