<i>Viscum album</i> neutralizes tumor-induced immunosuppression in a human <i>in vitro</i> cell model
by Carmen Steinborn, Amy Marisa Klemd, Ann-Sophie Sanchez-Campillo, Sophie Rieger, Marieke Scheffen, Barbara Sauer, Manuel Garcia-Käufer, Konrad Urech, Marie Follo, Annekathrin Ücker, Gunver Sophia Kienle, Roman Huber, Carsten GründemannTumor cells have the capacity to secrete immunosuppressive substances in order to diminish dendritic cell (DC) activity and thereby escape from immune responses. The impact of mistletoe (Viscum album) extracts (VAE), which are frequently used as an additive anti-cancer therapy to stimulate the immune response, is still unknown. Using a human cellular system, the impact of two different VAE (VAEA + VAEI) on the maturation of human dendritic cells and on T cell function has been investigated using flow cytometry, automated fluorescence microscopy and cytokine bead array assays. Furthermore, we examined whether VAEI was able to counteract tumor-induced immunosuppression within this cellular system using a renal cancer cell model. The role of mistletoe lectin (ML) was analyzed using ML-specific antibodies and ML-depleted VAEI. VAEI and VAEA augmented the maturation of dendritic cells. VAEI abrogated tumor-induced immunosuppression of dendritic cells and both processes were partially mediated by ML since ML-depleted VAEI and ML-specific antibodies almost neutralized the rehabilitative effects of VAEI on DC maturation. Using these settings, co-culture experiments with purified CD4+ T cells had no influence on T cell proliferation and activation but did have an impact on IFN-γ secretion. The study provides a potential mode-of-action of VAE as an additive cancer therapy based on immunomodulatory effects. However, the impact on the in vivo situation has to be evaluated in further studies.
Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article
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