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Lichtenegger, Felix S.; Rothe, Maurine; Schnorfeil, Frauke M.; Deiser, Katrin; Krupka, Christina; Augsberger, Christian; Schlueter, Miriam; Neitz, Julia; Subklewe, Marion (2018): Targeting LAG-3 and PD-1 to Enhance T Cell Activation by Antigen-Presenting Cells. In: Frontiers in Immunology, Vol. 9, 385
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Abstract

Immune checkpoint inhibition has been shown to successfully reactivate endogenous T cell responses directed against tumor-associated antigens, resulting in significantly prolonged overall survival in patients with various tumor entities. For malignancies with low endogenous immune responses, this approach has not shown a clear clinical benefit so far. Therapeutic vaccination, particularly dendritic cell (DC) vaccination, is a strategy to induce T cell responses. Interaction of DCs and T cells is dependent on receptor-ligand interactions of various immune checkpoints. In this study, we analyzed the influence of blocking antibodies targeting programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1), HVEM, CD244, TIM-3, and lymphocyte activation gene 3 (LAG-3) on the proliferation and cytokine secretion of T cells after stimulation with autologous TLR-matured DCs. In this context, we found that LAG-3 blockade resulted in superior T cell activation compared to inhibition of other pathways, including PD-1/PD-L1. This result was consistent across different methods to measure T cell stimulation (proliferation, IFN-gamma secretion), various stimulatory antigens (viral and bacterial peptide pool, specific viral antigen, specific tumor antigen), and seen for both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells. Only under conditions with a weak antigenic stimulus, particularly when combining antigen presentation by peripheral blood mononuclear cells with low concentrations of peptides, we observed the highest T cell stimulation with dual blockade of LAG-3 and PD-1 blockade. We conclude that priming of novel immune responses can be strongly enhanced by blockade of LAG-3 or dual blockade of LAG-3 and PD-1, depending on the strength of the antigenic stimulus.