Experimental manipulations of afferent immune responses influence efferent immune responses to brain tumors

Diana L. Thomas, David M. Kranz, Edward J. Roy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tumors grow more readily in the brain than in the periphery, in part due to immune privilege. Differences in both afferent and efferent components of the immune response contribute to this lower level of responsiveness. On the afferent side, despite the lack of lymphatic vessels in the brain, antigens from brain arrive in lymph nodes and spleen by several routes, and the route taken may influence the type of response generated. Work with viruses and soluble antigens in mice has shown that the intracerebral location and the volume of the inoculation influence the strength of the cytotoxic T cell response. We examined whether these factors influence the T cell response against experimental brain tumors in mice. Placement of tumor cells in the cerebral ventricles instead of the parenchyma generated an immune response sufficient to increase survival time. A large volume of an intraparenchymal infusion of tumor cells caused spread of cells to the ventricles, and resulted in longer survival time relative to a small volume infusion. Infusion of the same dose of radiolabeled tumor cells in either a small volume or a large volume allowed tracking of potential tumor antigens to the periphery. Both modes of infusion resulted in similar levels of radioactivity in blood, spleen and kidney. Unexpectedly, cells infused intraparenchymally in a small volume, compared to a large volume, resulted in (1) more radioactivity in cervical lymph nodes (parotid and deep cervical lymph nodes), (2) a greater number of CD11b +/Gr1+ myeloid suppressor cells in the tumors, and (3) fewer CD8+ cells within the tumor mass. Consistent with these observations, providing a stronger afferent stimulus by giving a concurrent subcutaneous injection of the same tumor cells infused into the brain increased CD8+ T cell infiltration of the tumor in the brain. These results suggest that the immune response elicited by antigens that drain predominantly to the cervical lymph nodes may be less effective than responses elicited at other lymph nodes, perhaps due to immunosuppressive cells. Directing therapies to the optimal peripheral sites may improve immune responses against brain tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1323-1333
Number of pages11
JournalCancer Immunology, Immunotherapy
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • Brain tumors
  • Immune privilege
  • Immunotherapy
  • Lymph nodes
  • T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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