New study shows antibody-interleukin complexes stimulate immune responses

the proliferation of CD8+ T cells simply by increasing the biological activity of pre-existing IL-2 through the formation of antibody-cytokine immune complexes in vivo. We next combined recombinant IL-2 with IL-2 mAb, which led to an even more dramatic expansion. This expansion effect also extended to other types of antibody-cytokine complexes, such as IL-4/IL-4 mAb and IL-7/IL-7 mAb."

Despite these findings, Boyman noted, no one yet knows why these antibody-cytokine complexes are such potent immune response boosters in vivo.

"A few studies have suggested that injecting a cytokine together with the right antibody increases the half-life of the cytokine in vivo, accompanied by a very mild immune activation," he said. "But our study suggests a different mechanism and that joining a cytokine to its specific antibody opens the way for selective and vigorous stimulation of T cell subsets. With some types of antibodies, injecting IL-2/IL-2 mAb complexes might be clinically useful for tumor immunotherapy and for expanding T cell numbers after bone marrow transplantation. On the other hand, expansion of CD4+ T regulatory cells by IL-2 combined with another type of IL-2 mAb might provide a basis for treating autoimmune disease."


Contact: Keith McKeown
Scripps Research Institute

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