Cytomegalovirus (CMV) reactivation in immunocompromised recipients of allogeneic stem cell transplantation is a cause of morbidity and mortality from viral pneumonitis. Antiviral drugs given to reactivating patients have reduced the mortality from CMV but have toxic side effects and do not always prevent late CMV disease. Cellular immunotherapy to prevent CMV disease is less toxic and could provide prolonged protection. However, a practical approach to generating sufficient quantities of CMV-specific cytotoxic T cells (CTLs) is required. This study describes a system for generating sufficient CMV-specific CTLs for adoptive immunotherapy of HLA-A*0201 bone marrow transplant recipients from 200 mL donor blood. Donor monocytes are used to generate dendritic cells (DCs) in medium with autologous plasma, interleukin 4, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, and CD40 ligand. The DCs are pulsed with the immunodominant HLA-A*0201-restricted CMV peptide pp65 495-503, and incubated with donor T cells. These cultures are restimulated twice with peptide-pulsed lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) or CD40-ligated B cells and purified with phycoerythrin (PE)-labeled pp65 495-503/LA-A*0201 tetramers by flow sorting, or with anti-PE paramagnetic beads. The pure tetramer-positive population is then rapidly expanded to obtain sufficient cells for clinical immunotherapy. The expanded CTLs are more than 80% pure, of memory phenotype, with a Tc1 cytokine profile. They efficiently kill CMV-infected fibroblasts and express the integrin VLA-4, suggesting that the CTLs could cross endothelial barriers. This technique is reproducible and could be used for generating CMV-specific CTLs to prevent CMV disease after allogeneic blood and marrow transplantation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology