TLR9 agonist MGN1703 enhances B cell differentiation and function in lymph nodes

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Mariane H Schleimann
  • ,
  • Maria-Louise Kobberø, Department of Cardiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark; Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.
  • ,
  • Line K Vibholm
  • Kathrine Kjær
  • Leila B Giron, Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center, The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
  • ,
  • Kathleen Busman-Sahay, Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR, USA.
  • ,
  • Chi Ngai Chan, Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR, USA.
  • ,
  • Michael Nekorchuk, Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR, USA.
  • ,
  • Manuel Schmidt, Mologen AG, Berlin, Germany.
  • ,
  • Burghardt Wittig, Mologen AG, Berlin, Germany; MolBio2Math - Molecular Biology & Integral Biomathics, a non-profit Foundation Institute, Berlin, Germany.
  • ,
  • Tine E Damsgaard
  • Peter Ahlburg
  • Michel B Hellfritzsch
  • Kaja Zuwala
  • Frederik H Rothemejer
  • Rikke Olesen
  • Phillipp Schommers, Institute of Virology, Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital of Cologne, University of Cologne, 50931 Cologne, Germany; Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital Cologne, University of Cologne, 50931 Cologne, Germany; German Center for Infection Research, Partner Site Bonn-Cologne, 50931 Cologne, Germany.
  • ,
  • Florian Klein, Institute of Virology, Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital of Cologne, University of Cologne, 50931 Cologne, Germany; German Center for Infection Research, Partner Site Bonn-Cologne, 50931 Cologne, Germany.
  • ,
  • Harsh Dweep, Bioinformatics Facility, The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
  • ,
  • Andrew Kossenkov, Bioinformatics Facility, The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
  • ,
  • Jens R Nyengaard
  • Jacob D Estes, Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR, USA.
  • ,
  • Mohamed Abdel-Mohsen, Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center, The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
  • ,
  • Lars Østergaard
  • ,
  • Martin Tolstrup
  • Ole S Søgaard
  • Paul W Denton

BACKGROUND: TLR9 agonists are being developed as immunotherapy against malignancies and infections. TLR9 is primarily expressed in B cells and plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs). TLR9 signalling may be critically important for B cell activity in lymph nodes but little is known about the in vivo impact of TLR9 agonism on human lymph node B cells. As a pre-defined sub-study within our clinical trial investigating TLR9 agonist MGN1703 (lefitolimod) treatment in the context of developing HIV cure strategies (NCT02443935), we assessed TLR9 agonist-mediated effects in lymph nodes.

METHODS: Participants received MGN1703 for 24 weeks concurrent with antiretroviral therapy. Seven participants completed the sub-study including lymph node resection at baseline and after 24 weeks of treatment. A variety of tissue-based immunologic and virologic parameters were assessed.

FINDINGS: MGN1703 dosing increased B cell differentiation; activated pDCs, NK cells, and T cells; and induced a robust interferon response in lymph nodes. Expression of Activation-Induced cytidine Deaminase, an essential regulator of B cell diversification and somatic hypermutation, was highly elevated. During MGN1703 treatment IgG production increased and antibody glycosylation patterns were changed.

INTERPRETATION: Our data present novel evidence that the TLR9 agonist MGN1703 modulates human lymph node B cells in vivo. These findings warrant further considerations in the development of TLR9 agonists as immunotherapy against cancers and infectious diseases. FUND: This work was supported by Aarhus University Research Foundation, the Danish Council for Independent Research and the NovoNordisk Foundation. Mologen AG provided study drug free of charge.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEBioMedicine
Volume45
Pages (from-to)328-340
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019

    Research areas

  • Antibody glycosylation, B cell differentiation, B cell follicle, HIV cure, TLR9 agonist

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