PloS one

Exogenous addition of arachidonic acid to the culture media enhances the functionality of dendritic cells for their possible use in cancer immunotherapy.

PMID 25369453


The development of dendritic cell based vaccines is a promising approach in cancer immunotherapy. For their successful use in the clinics, the propagation and functionality of DCs is crucial. We earlier established a two-step method for the large scale generation of DCs from umbilical cord blood derived MNCs/CD34(+) cells. This work aims at improving their functionality based on the following observations: in vitro generated DCs can be less efficient in migration and other functional activities due to lower eicosanoid levels. The production of eicosanoids from Arachidonic Acid (AA) can be hampered due to suppression of the enzyme phospholipase A2 by IL-4, an essential cytokine required for the differentiation of DCs. We hypothesized that exogenous addition of AA to the culture media during DC generation may result in DCs with improved functionality. DCs were generated with and without AA. The two DC sets were compared by phenotypic analysis, morphology and functional assays like antigen uptake, MLR, CTL assay and in vitro and in vivo migration. Though there were no differences between the two types of DCs in terms of morphology, phenotype and antigen uptake, AA(+) DCs exhibited an enhanced in vitro and in vivo migration, T cell stimulatory capacity, CTL activity and significantly higher transcript levels of COX-2. AA(+) DCs also show a favorable Th1 cytokine profile than AA- DCs. Thus addition of AA to the culture media is skewing the DCs towards the secretion of more IL-12 and less of IL-10 along with the restoration of eicosanoids levels in a COX-2 mediated pathway thereby enhancing the functionality of these cells to be used as a potent cellular vaccine. Taken together, these findings will be helpful in the better contriving of DC based vaccines for cancer immunotherapy.