DNA vaccination and all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) result in a survival advantage in a mouse model of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). Depletion of CD4(+) or CD8(+) cells abolished this effect. CD4(+) depletions of long-term survivors resulted in relapse and death within 3 months, thus demonstrating the need of both CD4(+) and CD8(+) subsets for the generation of DNA-driven antileukemic immune responses and underscoring a crucial role of CD4(+) cells in the maintenance of durable remissions. Degranulation and cytotoxic carboxyfluorescein diacetate succinimidyl ester- based assays showed major histocompatibility complex-restricted APL-specific T cell-mediated immune responses. Sorted APL-specific CD8(+)CD107a(+) T cells showed an increase of antileukemic activity. Effectors from ATRA + DNA-treated mice were shown to secrete interferon- gamma when stimulated with either APL cells or peptides from the promyelocytic leukemia- RARalpha vaccine-derived sequences as detected by ELISpot assays. Our results demonstrate that DNA vaccination with ATRA confers the effective boosting of interferon-gamma-producing and cytotoxic T cells in the leukemic mice.
DNA vaccination with all-trans retinoic acid treatment induces long-term survival and elicits specific immune responses requiring CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell activation in an acute promyelocytic leukemia mouse model