Histone deacetylase inhibitors affect dendritic cell differentiation and immunogenicity

Alessio Nencioni, Julia Beck, Daniela Werth, Frank Grünebach, Franco Patrone, Alberto Ballestrero, Peter Brossart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Histone deacetylases (HDAC) modulate gene transcription and chromatin assembly by modifying histones at the posttranscriptional level. HDAC inhibitors have promising antitumor activity and are presently explored in clinical studies. Cumulating evidence in animal models of immune disorders also suggests immunosuppressive properties for these small molecules, although the underlying mechanisms remain at present poorly understood. Here, we have evaluated the effects of two HDAC inhibitors currently in clinical use, sodium valproate and MS-275, on humanmonocyte-derived DCs. Experimental Design: DCs were generated from monocytes through incubation with granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor and interleukin-4. DC maturation was induced by addition of polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid. DC phenotype, immunostimulatory capacity, cytokine secretion, and migratory capacity were determined by flow cytometry, mixed leukocyte reaction, ELISA, and Transwell migration assay, respectively. Nuclear translocation of RelB, IFN regulatory factor (IRF)-3, and IRF-8 were determined by immunoblotting. Results: HDAC inhibition skews DC differentiation by preventing the acquisition of the DC hallmark CD1a and by affecting the expression of costimulation and adhesion molecules. In addition, macrophage inflammatory protein-3β/chemokine, motif CC, ligand 19-induced migration, immunostimulatory capacity, and cytokine secretion by DCs are also profoundly impaired. The observed defects in DC function on exposure to HDAC inhibitors seem to reflect the obstruction of signaling through nuclear factor-κB, IRF-3, and IRF-8. Conclusions: HDAC inhibitors exhibit strong immunomodulatory properties in human DCs. Our results support the evaluation of HDAC inhibitors in inflammatory and autoimmune disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3933-3941
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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