Autologous dendritic cell vaccination against HIV-1 induces changes in natural killer cell phenotype and functionality

PMID: 36864042
Journal: NPJ vaccines (volume: 8, issue: 1, NPJ Vaccines 2023 Mar;8(1):29)
Published: 2023-03-02

Laeremans T, den Roover S, Lungu C, D’haese S, Gruters RA, Allard SD, Aerts JL


Although natural killer (NK) cells have been studied in connection with dendritic cell (DC)-based vaccination in the field of cancer immunology, their role has barely been addressed in the context of therapeutic vaccination against HIV-1. In this study, we evaluated whether a therapeutic DC-based vaccine consisting of monocyte-derived DCs electroporated with Tat, Rev and Nef encoding mRNA affects NK cell frequency, phenotype and functionality in HIV-1-infected individuals. Although the frequency of total NK cells did not change, we observed a significant increase in cytotoxic NK cells following immunisation. In addition, significant changes in the NK cell phenotype associated with migration and exhaustion were observed together with increased NK cell-mediated killing and (poly)functionality. Our results show that DC-based vaccination has profound effects on NK cells, which highlights the importance of evaluating NK cells in future clinical trials looking at DC-based immunotherapy in the context of HIV-1 infection.