Kusakabe K, Xin KQ, Katoh H, Sumino K, Hagiwara E, Kawamoto S, Okuda K, Miyagi Y, Aoki I, Nishioka K, Klinman D, Okuda K.
The mechanism of immune activation induced by a plasmid-encoding GM-CSF (pGM-CSF), administered in combination with a DNA vaccine encoding the envelope of HIV, was studied. Injecting pGM-CSF i.m. into mice 3 days before DNA vaccination primarily induced a Th2 response. Simultaneous administration of the DNA vaccine plus pGM-CSF activated both a Th1 and a Th2 response. When the plasmid was injected 3 days after DNA vaccination, enhancement of Th1 immunity predominated. These results suggest that the timing of cytokine expression determines the phenotype of the resultant Th response. After 3 days of pGM-CSF injection, the increased percentages of CD11c+, CD8+ cells were observed in the regional lymph nodes. In addition, many infiltrated cells, including S-100 protein-positive cells, were found in the pGM-CSF-injected tissue. The importance of these S-100+ cells or both CD8+ and CD11c+ cells, especially that of dendritic cells (DCs), was also studied. DCs derived from bone marrow and cultured in RPMI 1640 medium containing IL-4 and GM-CSF were incubated with DNA vaccine and then transferred into naive mice. Mice receiving DCs showed strong HIV-1-specific Th2 immune responses. Our results suggest that DCs play important roles in the activation or modification of the Th2-type immune response induced by DNA vaccination.