Harnessing Calcium Signaling in Dendritic Cells - A Potential Approach to Modulate the Immune Response In Vivo for Immunotherapy
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CitationChan, Gail. 2013. Harnessing Calcium Signaling in Dendritic Cells - A Potential Approach to Modulate the Immune Response In Vivo for Immunotherapy. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
AbstractOver the past several decades, our understanding of the immune system has advanced considerably. With it, an appreciation for its role in a number of diseases, such as cancer and infection has significantly grown. While our increased understanding of the immunological mechanisms underlying these diseases has improved treatment, considerable morbidity and mortality from these illnesses still exists signifying the need for more effective and innovative therapies. Dendritic cell (DC) therapy has been shown to be a promising approach to induce strong immune responses for immunotherapy, and biomaterial-based strategies have been developed to target DCs in vivo to facilitate this purpose. Given the importance of calcium in DC function and activation, we hypothesized that we could develop a biomaterial-based approach to locally and specifically control calcium signaling in DCs in vivo as a novel strategy for immunotherapy. Our first sub-hypothesis was that the calcium used to crosslink alginate gels, a commonly used biomaterial, could activate DCs in vitro; our second sub-hypothesis was that calcium ionophore A23187 could be delivered from biomaterials to activate DCs in vitro; and our third sub-hypothesis was that calcium used to crosslink alginate gels and/or controlled delivery of A23187 could increase local inflammation in vivo. We found that both the calcium released from calcium alginate gels and A23187 matured DCs and enhanced TLR-induced inflammatory cytokine secretion in vitro. Although we were unable to effectively deliver A23187 in vivo, calcium alginate gels injected subcutaneously were able to upregulate a number of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines relative to barium alginate gels. Likewise, when LPS was delivered from calcium alginate gels, the inflammatory effects of LPS on surrounding tissue were enhanced compared to when it was delivered from barium alginate gels. Thus, we confirmed that the calcium crosslinker in alginate gels could activate DCs, and provided a proof-of-principle that calcium signaling could be harnessed in vivo to enhance the immune response. Not only does this work impact the future of biomaterial design, but it may also enhance our understanding of DC biology. This thesis lays the groundwork for a novel and potentially effective strategy for enhancing DC activation in vivo, and suggests that ion signaling pathways in other cell types (both immune and non-immune) could also be targeted using biomaterials.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:11158235
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