Treatment of tumor-bearing mice with a stimulatory Ab to glucocorticoid-induced TNFR family-related receptor (GITR) has previously been shown to elicit protective T cell responses against poorly immunogenic tumors. However, the role of GITR stimulation on CD8 T cells and the nature of tumor rejection Ags have yet to be determined. In this study, we show that a stimulatory mAb to GITR (clone DTA-1) acts directly on CD8 T cells, but not on CD4+CD25+ regulatory T (Treg) cells, in B16 tumor-bearing mice to induce concomitant immunity against secondary B16 tumors, as well as protective memory following surgical excision of the primary tumor. Melanoma growth itself induced GITR expression on tumor-specific CD8 T cells, providing a mechanism whereby these cells may respond to stimulatory anti-GITR. Unexpectedly, in contrast to Treg cell depletion therapy with anti-CD4, GITR stimulation induced very weak CD8 T cell responses to melanocyte differentiation Ags expressed by the tumor, and did not induce autoimmune vitiligo. Accordingly, GITR-stimulated hosts that were primed with B16 melanoma rejected B16, but not the unrelated JBRH melanoma, indicating that tumor rejection Ags are tumor-specific rather than shared. In support of this, we show that GITR stimulation induces CD8 T cell responses to a tumor-specific Ag, and that these responses are of higher functional avidity compared with those induced by Treg cell depletion. We conclude that stimulation of GITR on effector CD8 T cells results in high-avidity T cell responses to tumor-specific Ags, thereby inducing potent antitumor immunity in the absence of autoimmunity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy