SUMMARY: Serum-free culture conditions to generate immature human monocyte-derived DC (Mo-DC) were optimized, and the parameters that influence their maturation after exposure to lipopeptides containing CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell epitopes were examined.
The lipopeptides contained a single CD4(+) helper T-cell epitopes, one of a number of human leucocyte antigen (HLA)-A2-restricted cytotoxic T-cell epitope and the lipid Pam2Cys.
To ensure complete maturation of the Mo-DC, we examined (i) the optimal lipopeptide concentration, (ii) the optimal Mo-DC density and (iii) the appropriate period of exposure of the Mo-DC to the lipopeptides.
The results showed that a high dose of lipopeptide (30 microm) was no more efficient at upregulating maturation markers on Mo-DC than a low dose (6 microm).
There was an inverse relationship between Mo-DC concentration and the mean fluorescence intensity of maturation markers.
In addition, at the higher cell concentrations, the chemotactic capacity of the Mo-DC towards a cognate ligand, CCL21, was reduced.
Thus, high cell concentrations during lipopeptide exposure were detrimental to Mo-DC maturation and function.
The duration of exposure of Mo-DC to the lipopeptides had little effect on phenotype, although Mo-DC exposed to lipopeptides for 48 rather than 4 h showed an increased ability to stimulate autologous peripheral blood mononuclear cells to release interferon-gamma in the absence of exogenous maturation factors.
These findings reveal conditions for generating mature antigen-loaded DC suitable for targeted immunotherapy.