Vγ9Vδ2 T cells are attractive effector cells for immunotherapy with potent cytotoxic activity against a variety kinds of malignant cells. However, the effect of Vγ9Vδ2 T cells on chemotherapy-resistant acute myeloid leukemia (AML) blasts, especially highly refractory leukemia stem cells (LSCs) are still unknown. In this study, we investigated the effect of cytotoxicity of allogeneic Vγ9Vδ2 T cells on chemotherapy-resistant AML cell lines, as well as on primary AML blasts and LSCs obtained from refractory AML patients. The results indicated that Vγ9Vδ2 T cells can efficiently kill drug-resistant AML cell lines in vitro and in vivo, and the sensitivity of AML cells to Vγ9Vδ2 T cell-mediated cytotoxicity was not influenced by the sensitivity of AML cells to chemotherapy. We further found that Vγ9Vδ2 T cells exhibited a comparable effect of cytotoxicity against LSCs to primary AML blasts. More importantly, we revealed that CD226 – extracellular signal-regulatory kinase1/2 (ERK1/2) – lysosome-associated membrane protein 1 (LAMP1) pathway is an important mechanism for Vγ9Vδ2 T cell induced cytotoxicity against AML cells. First, Vγ9Vδ2 T cells recognized AML cells by receptor-ligand interaction of CD226-Nectin-2, which then induced ERK1/2 phosphorylation in Vγ9Vδ2 T cells. Finally, triggering the movement of lytic granules towards AML cells to induced cytolysis of AML cells. The expression level of Nectin-2 may be used as a novel marker to predict the susceptibility/resistance of AML cells to Vγ9Vδ2 T cell treatment.
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