The ability to recruit the host's CD8+ T lymphocytes (T CD8) against cancer is often limited by the development of peripheral tolerance toward the dominant tumor-associated Ags. Because multiple epitopes derived from a given tumor Ag (T Ag) can be targeted by TCD8, vaccine approaches should be directed toward those TCD8 that are more likely to survive under conditions of persistent Ag expression. In this study, we investigated the effect of peripheral tolerance on the endogenous T CD8 response toward two epitopes, designated epitopes I and IV, from the SV40 large T Ag. Using rat insulin promoter (RIP) 1-Tag4 transgenic mice that express T Ag from the RIP and develop pancreatic insulinomas, we demonstrate that epitope IV- but not epitope I-specific TCD8 are maintained long term in tumor-bearing RIP1-Tag4 mice. Even large numbers of TCR-transgenic T cells specific for epitope I were rapidly eliminated from RIP1-Tag4 mice after adoptive transfer and recognition of the endogenous T Ag. Importantly, immunization of RIP1-Tag4 mice at 5 wk of age against epitope IV resulted in complete protection from tumor progression over a 2-year period despite continued expression of T Ag in the pancreas. This extensive control of tumor progression was associated with the persistence of functional epitope IV-specific TCD8 within the pancreas for the lifetime of the mice without the development of diabetes. This study indicates that an equilibrium is reached in which immune surveillance for spontaneous cancer can be achieved for the lifespan of the host while maintaining normal organ function.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy