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      Targeting Tim-3 and PD-1 pathways to reverse T cell exhaustion and restore anti-tumor immunity


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          The immune response plays an important role in staving off cancer; however, mechanisms of immunosuppression hinder productive anti-tumor immunity. T cell dysfunction or exhaustion in tumor-bearing hosts is one such mechanism. PD-1 has been identified as a marker of exhausted T cells in chronic disease states, and blockade of PD-1–PD-1L interactions has been shown to partially restore T cell function. We have found that T cell immunoglobulin mucin (Tim) 3 is expressed on CD8 + tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in mice bearing solid tumors. All Tim-3 + TILs coexpress PD-1, and Tim-3 +PD-1 + TILs represent the predominant fraction of T cells infiltrating tumors. Tim-3 +PD-1 + TILs exhibit the most severe exhausted phenotype as defined by failure to proliferate and produce IL-2, TNF, and IFN-γ. We further find that combined targeting of the Tim-3 and PD-1 pathways is more effective in controlling tumor growth than targeting either pathway alone.

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          Most cited references 12

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          Th1-specific cell surface protein Tim-3 regulates macrophage activation and severity of an autoimmune disease.

          Activation of naive CD4(+) T-helper cells results in the development of at least two distinct effector populations, Th1 and Th2 cells. Th1 cells produce cytokines (interferon (IFN)-gamma, interleukin (IL)-2, tumour-necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and lymphotoxin) that are commonly associated with cell-mediated immune responses against intracellular pathogens, delayed-type hypersensitivity reactions, and induction of organ-specific autoimmune diseases. Th2 cells produce cytokines (IL-4, IL-10 and IL-13) that are crucial for control of extracellular helminthic infections and promote atopic and allergic diseases. Although much is known about the functions of these two subsets of T-helper cells, there are few known surface molecules that distinguish between them. We report here the identification and characterization of a transmembrane protein, Tim-3, which contains an immunoglobulin and a mucin-like domain and is expressed on differentiated Th1 cells. In vivo administration of antibody to Tim-3 enhances the clinical and pathological severity of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a Th1-dependent autoimmune disease, and increases the number and activation level of macrophages. Tim-3 may have an important role in the induction of autoimmune diseases by regulating macrophage activation and/or function.
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            Cancer despite immunosurveillance: immunoselection and immunosubversion.

            Numerous innate and adaptive immune effector cells and molecules participate in the recognition and destruction of cancer cells, a process that is known as cancer immunosurveillance. But cancer cells avoid such immunosurveillance through the outgrowth of poorly immunogenic tumour-cell variants (immunoselection) and through subversion of the immune system (immunosubversion). At the early stages of carcinogenesis, cell-intrinsic barriers to tumour development seem to be associated with stimulation of an active antitumour immune response, whereas overt tumour development seems to correlate with changes in the immunogenic properties of tumour cells. The permanent success of treatments for cancer might depend on using immunogenic chemotherapy to re-establish antitumour immune responses.
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              Viral persistence alters CD8 T-cell immunodominance and tissue distribution and results in distinct stages of functional impairment.

              Chronic viral infections often result in ineffective CD8 T-cell responses due to functional exhaustion or physical deletion of virus-specific T cells. However, how persisting virus impacts various CD8 T-cell effector functions and influences other aspects of CD8 T-cell dynamics, such as immunodominance and tissue distribution, remains largely unknown. Using different strains of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), we compared responses to the same CD8 T-cell epitopes during acute or chronic infection. Persistent infection led to a disruption of the normal immunodominance hierarchy of CD8 T-cell responses seen following acute infection and dramatically altered the tissue distribution of LCMV-specific CD8 T cells in lymphoid and nonlymphoid tissues. Most importantly, CD8 T-cell functional impairment occurred in a hierarchical fashion in chronically infected mice. Production of interleukin 2 and the ability to lyse target cells in vitro were the first functions compromised, followed by the ability to make tumor necrosis factor alpha, while gamma interferon production was most resistant to functional exhaustion. Antigen appeared to be the driving force for this loss of function, since a strong correlation existed between the viral load and the level of exhaustion. Further, epitopes presented at higher levels in vivo resulted in physical deletion, while those presented at lower levels induced functional exhaustion. A model is proposed in which antigen levels drive the hierarchical loss of different CD8 T-cell effector functions during chronic infection, leading to distinct stages of functional impairment and eventually to physical deletion of virus-specific T cells. These results have implications for the study of human chronic infections, where similar T-cell deletion and functional dysregulation has been observed.

                Author and article information

                J Exp Med
                J. Exp. Med
                The Journal of Experimental Medicine
                The Rockefeller University Press
                27 September 2010
                : 207
                : 10
                : 2187-2194
                [1 ]Center for Neurological Diseases, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115
                [2 ]Department of Pediatrics and Division of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455
                Author notes
                CORRESPONDENCE Vijay K. Kuchroo: vkuchroo@ 123456rics.bwh.harvard.edu OR Ana C. Anderson: aanderson@ 123456rics.bwh.harvard.edu

                K. Sakuishi and L. Apetoh contributed equally to this paper.

                © 2010 Sakuishi et al.

                This article is distributed under the terms of an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike–No Mirror Sites license for the first six months after the publication date (see http://www.rupress.org/terms). After six months it is available under a Creative Commons License (Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported license, as described at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/).




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