It is well known that DNA vaccines induce protective humoral and cell-mediated immune responses in several animal models. Antrodia camphorata (AC) is a unique basidiomycete fungus of the Polyporaceae family that only grows on the aromatic tree Cinnamomum kanehirai Hayata (Lauraceae) endemic to Taiwan. Importantly, AC has been shown to be highly beneficial in the treatment and prevention of cancer. The goal of this study was to investigate whether AC is able to augment the antitumor immune properties of a HER-2/neu DNA vaccine in a mouse model in which p185neu is overexpressed in MBT-2 tumor cells. Compared with the mice that received the HER-2/neu DNA vaccine alone, co-treatment with AC suppressed tumor growth and extended the survival rate. This increase in the antitumor efficacy was attributed to the enhancement of the Th1-like cellular immune response by the HER-2/neu DNA vaccine-AC combination. Evidence for this came from the marked increase in the IFN-γ mRNA expression in CD4 + T cells in the draining inguinal lymph nodes, an increase in the number of functional HER-2/neu-specific CTLs, and the increased tumor infiltration of both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, depletion of which abolishes the antitumor effect of the HER-2/neu DNA vaccine-AC therapy. Our results further indicate that the treatment of mice with AC enhanced DC activation and production of Th1-activating cytokines (e.g. IL-12, and IFN-α) in the draining lymph nodes, which were sufficient to directly stimulate T cell proliferation and higher IFN-γ production in response to ErbB2. Overall, these results clearly demonstrate that AC represents a promising immunomodulatory adjuvant that could enhance the therapeutic potency of HER-2/neu DNA vaccines in cancer therapy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy
- Cancer Research