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Rodent autonomous parvoviruses (PVs) are endowed with oncotropic properties and represent virotherapeutics with inherent oncolytic features. This work aimed to evaluate the capacity of Minute Virus of Mice (MVMp) to act as an adjuvant stimulating a mouse glioblastoma-specific immune response. MVMp was shown to induce cell death through apoptosis in glioma GL261 cells. Antigen-presenting cells (APCs) provide the initial cue for innate and adaptive immune responses, and thus MVMp-infected GL261 cells were tested for their ability to activate dendritic cells (DCs) and microglia (MG), two distinct cell types that are able to act as APCs. MG and discrete DC subsets were activated after co-culture with MVMp-infected glioma GL261 cells, as evidenced by upregulation of specific activation markers (CD80, CD86) and release of proinflammatory cytokines (tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-6). The in vivo analysis of immunodeficient and immunocompetent mice revealed a clear difference in their susceptibility to MVMp-mediated tumor suppression. Immunocompetent mice were fully protected from tumor outgrowth of GL261 cells infected ex vivo with MVMp. In contrast, immunodeficient animals were less competent for MVMp-dependent tumor inhibition, with only 20% of the recipients being protected, arguing for an additional immune component to allow full tumor suppression. In keeping with this conclusion, immunocompetent mice engrafted with MVMp-infected glioma cells developed a level of anti-tumor immunity with isolated splenocytes producing elevated levels of interferon-γ. In rechallenge experiments using uninfected GL261 cells, we could show complete protection against the tumor, arguing for the induction of a T-cell-mediated, tumor-specific, long-term memory response. These findings indicate that the anticancer effect of PVs can be traced back not only for their direct oncolytic effect, but also to their ability to break tumor tolerance.


S P Grekova, Z Raykov, R Zawatzky, J Rommelaere, U Koch. Activation of a glioma-specific immune response by oncolytic parvovirus Minute Virus of Mice infection. Cancer gene therapy. 2012 Jul;19(7):468-75

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PMID: 22539062

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