Volume 6 Supplement 3

AIDS Vaccine 2009

Open Access

P18-02. Peptide pulsed dendritic cells allows for induction of polyfunctional CD4+ T cell responses and help CD8+ T cell targeting subdominant CTL epitopes

  • A Fomsgaard1,
  • I Karlsson1,
  • H Kløverpris1,
  • J Bonde1,
  • M Thorn1,
  • AE Pedersen2,
  • L Vinner1,
  • G Gram1,
  • IM Svane3,
  • J Gerstoft4 and
  • G Kronborg5
Retrovirology20096(Suppl 3):P311


Published: 22 October 2009


To target HIV-1 specific CTL epitopes that are subdominant in the context of natural infection we designed a peptide based vaccine in order to induce a balanced CD4+ and CD8+ cellular immune response. We believe that inducing CD4+ T cell responses would provide help and allow for responses against sub-dominant epitopes to come forward.


In a phase I/II therapeutic HIV-1 vaccine trial 12 treatment naïve HIV-1 infected Danish individuals received 1 × 10e7 autologous monocyte derived dendritic cells s.c. (week 0, 2, 4 and 8) pulsed with 10 different peptides, 7 CTL epitopes from conserved regions of HIV-1 and two HIV-1 derived and one universal T helper epitope. Novel T cell responses were evaluated by intracellular cytokine staining for IFN-γ, TNF-α and IL-2.


This mode of vaccination generated robust polyfunctional vaccine specific CD4+ T cell responses sustained at the last evaluation, 6 months after the last immuniza-tion. Cytokine responses were dominated by TNF-α and IL-2 production, indicative of long-lived central memory cells. Moreover, in 12 out of 12 patient's vaccine specific CD8+ T cell responses were detected.


This suggests that this mode of vaccination, dendritic cells loaded with a combination of T helper and CTL epitope peptides, is a successful approach to target subdominant epitopes and the possibility to re-direct the immune response towards selected epitopes during chronic HIV-1 infection is an important proof of concept.

Authors’ Affiliations

Virology, Statens Serum Institut
University of Copenhagen
University Hospital Herlev
University Hospital Copenhagen
University Hospital Hvidovre


© Fomsgaard et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2009

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.