IMR Press / FBS / Volume 14 / Issue 1 / DOI: 10.31083/j.fbs1401002
Open Access Original Research
Influence of photon, proton and carbon ion irradiation on differentiation, maturation and functionality of dendritic cells
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1 Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Heidelberg, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
2 National Center for Radiation Research in Oncology (NCRO), Heidelberg Institute of Radiation Oncology (HIRO), 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
3 Molecular and Radiation Oncology, DKFZ 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
4 Heidelberg Ion Beam Therapy Center, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
5 Department of Radiation Oncology, Göttingen University, 37075 Göttingen Germany
*Correspondence: (Laila König)
These authors contributed equally.
Academic Editor: Gustavo Caetano-Anollés
Front. Biosci. (Schol Ed) 2022, 14(1), 2;
Submitted: 17 November 2021 | Revised: 20 December 2021 | Accepted: 27 December 2021 | Published: 20 January 2022
Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license.

While the primary purpose of radiotherapy (RT) is the elimination of cancer cells by inducing DNA-damage, considerable evidence emerges that anti-neoplastic effects extend beyond mere tumor cell killing. These secondary effects are based on activation of dendritic cells (DCs) via induction of antitumoral immune reactions. However, there is an ongoing debate whether or not irradiation of the DCs themselves may negatively affect their maturation and functionality. Human monocytes were irradiated with different absorbed doses (1 × 15 Gy relative biological effectiveness (RBE), 5 × 2 Gy (RBE), 1 × 0.5 Gy (RBE)) with photons, protons and carbon ions. Differentiation and maturation of DCs were assessed by staining of corresponding cell surface molecules and functional analysis of irradiated DCs was based on in vitro analysis of phagocytosis, migration and IL-12 secretion. Irradiation of CD14-positive DCs did not alter surface phenotypes of immature DCs and mature DCs. Not only differentiation, but also functionality of immature DCs regarding phagocytosis, migration and IL-12 secretion capacity was not negatively influenced through RT with photons, protons or carbon ions as well as with different dose levels. After proton irradiation migratory capacity of immature DCs was increased. Our experiments reveal that phenotypic maturation of DCs remains unchanged after RT with different fractionations and after irradiation with particle therapy. Unaffected functionality (phagocytosis, migration and cytokine secretion) after RT of DCs indicated possible persistent potential for inducing adaptive immune response. Additional effects on the immunogenic potential of DCs will be investigated by further functional assays.

Dendritic cells
Particle therapy
Carbon ion
Monocyte derived
Fig. 1.
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