Immunotherapeutic action of extracellular vesicles and effects of TLR signaling to immune dysfunction of SCI patients
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The primary aim of this thesis is to extend the breadth of in vivo application of externally loaded exosomes as prophylactic or therapeutic carriers against disease treatment. Exosomes are secreted from all cells and could be purified from all bodily fluids; however, engineering of exosomes to carry specific ligands post-purification is a daunting task. Herein, we show that lyophilization of exosomes together with the biological cargo alone or in combination of CpG ODN motifs, model protein antigen ovalbumin or lipidic ligand alpha-galactosylceramide (αGC) followed by controlled reconstitution successfully internalizes these cargos within exosomes. Furthermore, the bioactivity of the loaded ligand(s) surpasses the unloaded free ligand activities. When tested in vivo, exosome incorporated ligand(s) proved to be significantly effective against model tumors such as E.G7 thymoma or established melanoma models. The mechanism behind this elevated immune activity is the ability of exosomes to be delivered to target cells and boost immune antigen dependent immune activation. Our in vitro findings revealed that encapsulation of CpG ODN into exosomes enhances immunostimulatory activity of CpG ODN than free form as evidenced by superior levels of cytokines like IL6, IL12 and Type-I and II interferons. This magnified immune activity might be partly due the increased APC activation observed as elevated CD86/MHCII surface marker expression. Immunization of C57/Bl6 mice with exosomal CpG ODN plus OVA induced strong Th1-biased anti-OVA response. Following thymoma induction in naive and OVAimmunized animals, >85% of exosomal vaccine treated mice cleared tumors whereas almost all naive animals were positive for tumor. This data suggests that CpG ODN encapsulation into exosomes improve immunostimulatory activity, provide better anti-OVA immunity thereby contribute effective tumor clearance in mice. A second aim of this thesis was to establish that it is feasible to load exosomes with more than two ligands. Next, invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cell ligand αGC was included within exosomes as the third element next to OVA and CpG ODN. Initial in vivo studies revealed that exosomes containing αGC were significantly more potent in inducing antigen dependent immune responses in comparison to free form of CpG ODN, OVA and αGC. In therapeutic tumor vaccine model, two exosome injections (@d: 9 and d: 15) were done to B16-OVA tumor bearing animals and tumor regression was followed. Mice that had triple exosomal ligands significantly reduced tumors compared to mice treated with non-exosomal ligands. This study confirmed that exosomes with triple ligands could be effectively control established tumor development. In this thesis, the elucidation of the involvement of extracellular vesicles (EVs) on the pathogenesis of autoimmune/autoinflammatory diseases was studied. The underlying mechanism in BD pathogenesis is still unclear. We found that one of the human cathelicidin group members, antimicrobial peptide LL37 along with EVs were elevated in active BD patients` plasmas. Strikingly, majority of plasma LL37 was associated with circulating EVs. We found that there was a strong correlation between i) LL37 level, ii) EV #/ml plasma and iii) cytokine production. In the last part of this thesis, one of the possible mechanisms of immune dysfunction contributing to severe neurological deterioration of chronic spinal cord injured (SCI) patients was unearthed. We aimed to investigate whether there is a correlation between susceptibility to infections of chronic SCI patients within the context of impaired innate recognition of pathogen associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). Our data implicated that although there was no dysfunction of B cell, or CD4+ Treg activity, but sensing TLR7 and TLR9 ligands by monocytes and pDCs were ablated in patients with SCI, leading to lower IFNγ and IP10 production along with costimulatory molecule expression, that could explain the immunological dysfunction in patient with SCI contributing to persistent complications.
Spinal cord injury