Use of adequate adjuvant is necessary for induction of effective antitumor immune responses. To develop an effective adjuvant for cancer immunotherapy, we selected formalin-inactivated (f)-HSV as an adjuvant component, and analyzed the mechanisms underlying its adjuvant effects. First, we found that f-HSV can induce the tumor antigen-specific CTLs by enhancing antigen cross-presentation by dendritic cells (DCs), mainly through TLR2, but not TLR9. Next, f-HSV was also found to prevent the accumulation of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). We demonstrated that the expansion of MDSCs in the blood and spleen during tumor progression required B cells producing the inflammatory angiogenesis factors, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A and neuropilin-1 (NRP-1), a co-receptor for VEGF receptor-2 (VEGFR-2). Interestingly, the transmembrane-type NRP-1 on B cells changed to soluble-type NRP-1 (sNRP-1) by f-HSV treatment. We further showed that the sNRP-1 and VEGF-A secreted from B cells by f-HSV treatment could abrogate the immunosuppressive ability of MDSCs. These results suggest that f-HSV can enhance antitumor immune responses as an adjuvant, not only through activation of DCs, but also inactivation of MDSCs via B cells.
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