Tolerogenic dendritic cells produced by lentiviral-mediated CD40- and interleukin-23p19-specific shRNA can ameliorate experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by suppressing T helper type 17 cells



Down-regulation of soluble or membrane-bound co-stimulatory molecules by RNAi in dendritic cells can prevent the activation of immune responses. Therefore, this study was designed to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of bone marrow-derived DCs (BMDCs) transduced with lentiviral vectors to permanently expressed shRNA specific for CD40 (CD40LV-DCs) and/or p19 subunit of interleukin (IL)-23 (p19LV-DCs) mRNAs in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). In-vitro studies showed that double-transduced BMDCs (CD40+p19LV-DCs) resemble tolerogenic DCs due to profound down-regulation of CD40, lower expression of proinflammatory cytokines (IL-6 and IL-12), increased IL-10 production and stronger stimulation of myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)35–55-specific T cells for production of IL-10 compared with CD40LV-DCs, p19LV-DCs and BMDCs transduced with control lentiviral vector (CoLV-DCs). Moreover, injection of transduced CD40+p19LV- BMDCs in EAE mice resulted in more reduction in clinical score, significant reduction in IL-17 or increased production of IL-10 by mononuclear cells derived from the lymph nodes or spinal cord compared with CoLV-DCs-treated EAE mice. In conclusion, simultaneous knock-down of CD40 and IL-23 production by BMDCs may represent a promising therapeutic tool for the treatment of IL-17-dependent autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis.