Activated B Cells Mediate Efficient Expansion of Rare Antigen-Specific T Cells

Caroline Zentz, Martina Wiesner, Stephen Man, Bernhard Frankenberger, Barbara Wollenberg, Peter Hillemanns, Reinhard Zeidler, Wolfgang Hammerschmidt, Andreas Moosmann*

*Corresponding author for this work
12 Citations (Scopus)


Potent professional antigen-presenting cells (APC) are essential tools to activate and expand antigen-specific T cells in vitro for use in adoptive immunotherapy. CD40-activated B cells can be easily generated and propagated from human donors and have been successfully used to generate antigen-specific T-cell cultures. Here we show that CD40-activated B cells strongly and specifically expand rare populations of antigen-specific CD8 T cells, with frequencies of less than 1 in 20,000 CD8 T cells in peripheral blood. We focused on T cells recognizing an epitope from the human papillomavirus 16 (HPV-16) E7 protein. In 6 of 6 healthy donors, epitope-specific CD8+ T cells were found to be "rare" by this criterion, as shown by staining with human leukocyte antigen (HLA)/peptide multimers. Using peptide-loaded CD40-activated B cells, epitope-specific T cells could be selectively expanded in all donors up to 106 fold, and the resulting T-cell cultures contained up to 88% specific T cells. These results strongly encourage the use of CD40-stimulated B cells as APCs in immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman immunology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)75-85
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 02.2007


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