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P01.02 TLR-mediated suppression of the CCL22-CCR4 axis as a new target for tumor immunotherapy
  1. J Grün,
  2. I Piseddu,
  3. C Perleberg,
  4. N Röhrle,
  5. S Endres and
  6. D Anz
  1. Klinikum der Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, München, Germany


Background Unmethylated CpG-DNA is a potent ligand for the endosomal Toll-like-receptor-9, important for the immune activation to pathogen-associated molecules.1 CpG and other TLR-ligands show effective immunotherapeutic capacities in cancer treatment by inducing an antitumorigenic immunity.2 They are able to reduce tumor progression by reduction of intratumoral secretion of the immunoregulating chemokine CCL223 and subsequent recruitment of immunosuppressive regulatory T cells (Treg), which express CCR4 the only so far known receptor for CCL22.4 Our recent work has shown that CCL22 secretion by dendritic cells (DC) in the lymph node, mediates tolerance by inducing DC-Treg contacts.5 Indeed, in the absence of CCL22, immune responses to vaccination were stronger and resulted in tumor rejection.6 Therefore, we are aiming to investigate the effects of TLR-ligands on systemic CCL22 levels, elucidating all involved mechanisms to identify new targets for cancer immunotherapy.

Materials and Methods T, B and CD11c+ DCs of wildtype (wt) and RAG1-/- mice were isolated from splenocytes by magnetic-activated cell sorting for in vitro assays. Different co-cultures were incubated with CpG and GM-CSF, known as an CCL22 inducer.5 For in vivo experiments, wt mice were treated with CpG, R484 or poly(I:C) alone and in combination with GM-CSF. CCL22-levels in a number of organs were analyzed.

Results Analyzing the different immune cell compartments in vitro, we found that DCs in whole splenocytes secrete CCL22 during culture while DC cultured alone showed no CCL22 secretion. When treated with CpG, CCL22-levels were reduced in splenocytes, while it was induced in DC culture alone. The same results were seen when RAG splenocytes, that lack functional B and T cells, were cultured with CpG. CpG treated B cells were able to suppress CCL22 secretion by DC unlike T cells alone. Co-cultures of T and B cells treated with CpG, however, induced the strongest CCL22 suppression in DC. In vivo, we could show that all TLR ligands tested reduced CCL22 in a number of organs significantly. Furthermore, CpG showed the strongest suppression of CCL22 even in the presence of the CCL22 inducer GM-CSF.5

Conclusions We could show that B cells with T cells mediate CCL22 suppression by TLR ligands. The fact that CpG was able to reduce CCL22 levels even in the presence of the inducer GM-CSF demonstrates the potent CCL22 suppressive capacity of TLR ligands.


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  2. Rothenfusser S, et al. Recent advances in immunostimulatory CpG oligonucleotides. Curr Opin Mol Ther 2003;5(2):98–106.

  3. Wang S, et al. Intratumoral injection of a CpG oligonucleotide reverts resistance to PD-1 blockade by expanding multifunctional CD8+ T cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2016;113(46): E7240–E7249.

  4. Rapp M, et al. CCL22 controls immunity by promoting regulatory T cell communication with dendritic cells in lymph nodes. J Exp Med 2019;216(5):1170–1181.

  5. Piseddu I, et al. Constitutive expression of CCL22 is mediated by T cell-derived GM-CSF. J Immunol 2020;205(8):2056–2065.

  6. Anz D, et al. Suppression of intratumoral CCL22 by type i interferon inhibits migration of regulatory T cells and blocks cancer progression. Cancer Res 2015;75(21):4483–93.

Disclosure Information J. Grün: None. I. Piseddu: None. C. Perleberg: None. N. Röhrle: None. S. Endres: None. D. Anz: None.

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