Modulation of inflammation by low and high doses of ionizing radiation: Implications for benign and malign diseases.
Administration of nonmyeloablative chemotherapeutic agents or total body irradiation (TBI) prior to adoptive transfer of tumor-specific T cells may reduce or eliminate immunosuppressive populations such as T regulatory cells (Tregs) and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC). Little is known about these populations during immune reconstitution. This study was designed to understand the reconstitution rate and function of these populations post TBI in melanoma tumor-bearing mice. Reconstitution rate and suppressive activity of CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) Tregs and CD11b(+)Gr1(+) MDSC following TBI-induced lymphopenia was measured in B16 melanoma tumor-bearing mice. To ablate the rapid reconstitution of suppressive populations, we treated mice with docetaxel, a known chemotherapeutic agent that targets MDSC, in combination with adoptive T cell transfer and dendritic cell immunotherapy. Both Treg and MDSC populations exhibited rapid reconstitution after TBI-induced lymphopenia. Although reconstituted Tregs were just as suppressive as Tregs from untreated mice, MDSC demonstrated enhanced suppressive activity of CD8(+) T cell proliferation compared with endogenous MDSC from tumor-bearing mice. TBI-induced lymphopenia followed by docetaxel treatment improved the efficacy of adoptive T cell transfer and dendritic cell immunotherapy in melanoma-bearing mice, inducing a significant reduction in tumor growth and enhancing survival. Tumor regression correlated with increased CTL activity and persistence of adoptively transferred T cells. Overall, these findings suggest that TBI-induced MDSC are highly immunosuppressive and blocking their rapid reconstitution may improve the efficacy of vaccination strategies and adoptive immunotherapy.