IL-10 expression defines an immunosuppressive dendritic cell population induced by antitumor therapeutic vaccination
Vaccination induces immunostimulatory signals that are often accompanied by regulatory mechanisms such as IL-10, which control T-cell activation and inhibit vaccine-dependent antitumor therapeutic effect. Here we characterized IL10-producing cells in different tumor models treated with therapeutic vaccines. Although several cell subsets produced IL-10 irrespective of treatment, an early vaccine-dependent induction of IL-10 was detected in dendritic cells (DC). IL-10 production defined a DC population characterized by a poorly mature phenotype, lower expression of T-cell stimulating molecules and upregulation of PD-L1. These IL-10(+) DC showed impaired in vitro T-cell stimulatory capacity, which was rescued by incubation with IL-10R and PD-L1-inhibiting antibodies. In vivo IL-10 blockade during vaccination decreased the proportion of IL-10(+) DC and improved their maturation, without modifying PD-L1 expression. Similarly, PD-L1 blockade did not affect IL-10 expression. Interestingly, vaccination combined with simultaneous blockade of IL-10 and PD-L1 induced stronger immune responses, resulting in a higher therapeutic efficacy in tumor-bearing mice. These results show that vaccine-induced immunoregulatory IL-10(+) DC impair priming of antitumor immunity, suggesting that therapeutic vaccination protocols may benefit from combined targeting of inhibitory molecules expressed by this DC subset.