Prolongation of cardiac allograft survival using dendritic cells treated with NF-κB decoy oligodeoxyribonucleotides

Nick Giannoukakis, C. Andrew Bonham, Shiguang Qian, Zhongyou Zhou, Lansha Peng, Jo Harnaha, Wei Li, Angus W. Thomson, John J. Fung, Paul D. Robbins, Lina Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Scopus citations


Dendritic cells (DC) classically promote immune responses but can be manipulated to induce antigen-specific hyporesponsiveness in vitro. The expression of costimulatory molecules (CD40, CD86, CD80) at the DC cell surface correlates with their capacity to induce or suppress immune responses. Expression of these molecules is associated with NF-kB-dependent transcription of their genes. DC tolerogenicity has been associated with impaired NF-kB-dependent transcription of costimulatory genes as well as NF-kB translocation to the nucleus. In this report, we demonstrate that double-stranded oligodeoxyribonucleotides containing binding sites for NF-kB (NF-kB ODN) are efficiently incorporated by bone marrow-derived DC and specifically inhibit NF-kB-dependent transcription of a reporter gene. Moreover, exposure of DC to the oligonucleotide decoys inhibited lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced nitric oxide production, a marker of DC maturation. Treatment of bone marrow-derived DC progenitors with NF-kB ODN selectively suppressed the cell-surface expression of costimulatory molecules without interfering with MHC class I or class II expression. Furthermore, NF-kB ODN DC induced allogeneic donor-specific hyporesponsiveness in mixed leukocyte cultures, and this was associated with inhibition of Th1-type cytokine production. Finally, infusion of NF-kB ODN-modified bone marrow-derived DC into allogeneic recipients prior to heart transplantation resulted in significant prolongation of a allograft survival in the absence of immunosuppression. Specific interference with NF-kB and other transcriptional pathways involved in immune stimulation in DC using ODN decoy approaches could be one means to promote tolerance induction in organ transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)430-437
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Therapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2000
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by grants from the Roche Organ Transplantation Research Foundation (700659 to L.L.), the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International (P1893135), and the NIH (DK29961).


  • Costimulation
  • Dendritic cells
  • NF-kB
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotide
  • Tolerance
  • Transplantation


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