Liang Jia

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 2009


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name





School of Pharmacy

Committee Chair

Wilson Meng

Committee Member

James Drennen

Committee Member

Christianah Adeyeye

Committee Member

Christopher Surratt

Committee Member

Alan Seadler


Gene therapy, dendritic cells, T cell response, immunosuppressive genes, delivery systems, interleukin-10 (IL-10) gene


Gene therapy has emerged as a field to modulate cell functions by introducing genes of interest to target cells. An emerging focus in this field is to employ non-viral vectors to deliver immunosuppressive cytokines to dendritic cells (DCs) to attenuate damaging immune responses. DCs serve as potential targets for suppression of T cell responses. In this work, we investigated the ability of polycation-modified polymeric particles complexed with interleukin-10 (IL-10) gene to modulate DCs. The delivery systems (designated as PSO10H6 and PLGAO10H6) were formed by coating cationic peptide O10H6 (O: ornithine; H: histidine) on the polystyrene (PS) and poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) particulates. A mouse IL-10 encoding plasmid (pIL-10) was loaded on the surface of PSO10H6 and PLGAO10H6 via ionic interactions. Physical characterization of these particles revealed stable colloidal dispersions (diameters: 297.2±14nm in PLGAO10H6-pIL-10 and 126.0±8nm in PSO10H6-pIL-10). DNA molecules carried by PSO10H6 and PLGAO10H6 were protected from serum digestion. Results from in vitro gene transfection studies showed two-fold enhancement of IL-10 expression in bone marrow-derived DCs transfected with PSO10H6-pIL-10 and PLGAO10H6-pIL-10 compared to untransfected DCs. Their suppressive functions were evaluated in an in vitro mixed lymphocyte model. Results indicated that PSO10H6-pIL-10 and PLGAO10H6-pIL-10 modified DCs elicited weakest proliferation of allogeneic bulk T cells as well as CD4 and CD8 T cells among all the delivery modes. Using cell-embedded Matrigel as a surrogate graft, we showed that IL-10 gene-modified DCs suppressed host cell infiltration in vivo. These data suggested PSO10H6-pIL-10 and PLGAO10H6-pIL-10 deliver an overriding suppressive signal to T cells. Further studies revealed T cells stimulated by the IL-10 gene-modified DCs exhibited characteristics of regulatory T (Treg) cells, as evident by up-regulation of a Treg cell marker forkhead-type transcription factor 3 (Foxp3). This result was concomitant with an increase in of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) production.

Taken together, this work demonstrated that PSO10H6 and PLGAO10H6 are effective in delivering pIL-10 to modulate DCs to suppress T cell responses. Collectively, the results raise the prospects of using PSO10H6 and PLGAO10H6 as vectors to deliver immunosuppressive genes to modulate T cell responses in vivo.