Expression of VISTA regulated via IFN-{gamma} governs endogenous T-cell function and exhibits correlation with the efficacy of CD19 CAR-T cell treated B-malignant mice

June, 06, 2024 | Select Oncology Journal Articles


Despite continuous improvements in the new target and construction of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T, relapse remains a significant challenge following CAR-T therapy. Tumor microenvironment (TME) strongly correlates with the efficacy of CAR-T therapy. V-domain Ig suppressor of T-cell activation (VISTA), which exerts a multifaceted and controversial role in regulating the TME, acts not only as a ligand on antigen-presenting cells but also functions as a receptor on T cells. However, the characteristics and underlying mechanisms governing endogenous T-cell activation by VISTA, which are pivotal for reshaping the TME, remain incompletely elucidated.


The immunocompetent B acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL), lymphoma, and melanoma murine models were employed to investigate the characteristics of endogenous T cells within the TME following CD19 and hCAIX CAR-T cell therapy, respectively. Furthermore, we examined the role of VISTA controlled by interferon (IFN)- signaling in regulating endogenous T-cell activation and functionality in B-ALL mice.


We demonstrated that the administration of CD19 CAR-T or hCAIX CAR-T cell therapy elicited augmented immune responses of endogenous T cells within the TME of B-ALL, lymphoma, and melanoma mice, thereby substantiating the efficacy of CAR-T cell efficacy. However, in the TME lacking IFN- signaling, VISTA levels remained elevated, resulting in attenuated cytotoxicity of endogenous T cells and reduced B-ALL recipient survival. Mice treated with CD19 CAR-T cells exhibited increased proportions of endogenous memory T cells during prolonged remission, which possessed the tumor-responsive capabilities to protect against B-ALL re-challenge. Compared with wild-type (WT) CAR-T treated mice, the administration of IFN-–/– CAR-T to both WT and IFN-–/– recipients resulted in a reduction in the numbers of endogenous CD4+ and CD8+ effectors, while exhibiting increased populations of naïve-like CD4+ T and memory CD8+ T cells. VISTA expression consistently remained elevated in resting or memory CD4+ T cells, with distinct localization from programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1) expressing T subsets. Blocking the VISTA signal enhanced dendritic cell-induced proliferation and cytokine production by syngeneic T cells.


Our findings confirm that endogenous T-cell activation and functionality are regulated by VISTA, which is associated with the therapeutic efficiency of CAR-T and provides a promising therapeutic strategy for relapse cases in CAR-T therapy.

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