Mountz and colleagues isolated dendritic cells prepared from either peripheral blood or bone marrow, which were then pulsed with collagen. The DNA of an adenovirus expressing tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) was then introduced into these cells. The design of the adenovirus vector allowed the researchers to "switch on" the expression of TRAIL by these gene-modified dendritic cells at their discretion, by the addition of doxycycline (DOX).
A cascade of immunological events including lymphocyte activation, lymphokine production, and proliferation of synovial cells (which comprise the loose connective tissue lining the joint cavity) is associated with collagen-induced arthritis in mice. Mountz and colleagues found that infusion of collagen-pulsed DOX-inducible TRAIL-expressing dendritic cells into these mice induced the apoptosis of collagen-specific T cells, a reduction in lymphokine production, and suppression of collagen-induced arthritis. The data suggest that this gene therapy regime is a safe and effective method for inhibiting the development of collagen-induced arthritis
In an accompanying commentary in the same issue, George and Maria Tsokos from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Maryland, discuss how the results of Mountz and colleagues propose new possibilities for gene-modified cell-based treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
TITLE: CII-DC-AdTRAIL cell gene therapy inhibits infiltration of CII-reactive T cells and CII-induced arthritis
John D. Mountz
University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA.
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The TRAIL to arthritis
George C. Tsokos
Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA.