The limitations of highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) have necessitated the development of alternative therapeutic strategies. One of the approaches that has gained prominence in recent years is therapeutic vaccination. We decided to assess the capacity of mature dendritic cells, derived from blood monocytes of HIV-1 infected patients, to generate functional T-cell responses. For this purpose, we constructed a chimeric mRNA encoding the proteins Tat, Rev and Nef. The TaReNef encoding information was linked to the HLA class II-targeting sequence of DC-LAMP. Broadly directed HIV-specific CD4+and CD8+cytotoxic T cells exhibiting a poly-functional cytokine secretion pattern were generated by co-culturing with autologous chimeric mRNA electroporated dendritic cells. Thus, administration of ex vivo generated dendritic cells expressing the early proteins Tat, Rev and Nef might offer a promising approach for therapeutic vaccination in HIV-1 infection.

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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Allard, S.D, Pletinckx, K, Breckpot, K, Heirman, C, Bonehill, A, Michiels, A, … Aerts, J.L. (2008). Functional T-cell responses generated by dendritic cells expressing the early HIV-1 proteins Tat, Rev and Nef. Vaccine, 26(29-30), 3735–3741. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2008.04.077