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Transplantation. 2000 May 15;69(9):1806-12.

Protective effect of CTLA4Ig secreted by transgenic fetal pancreas allografts.

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  • 1Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.



Pancreas allotransplantation offers a cure for insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Systemic immunosuppression used to prevent immune destruction of the graft has side-effects, including increased susceptibility to infection and neoplasia. These unwanted effects may be limited by engineering the graft to secrete immunomodulatory molecules, to achieve local immunosuppression. Several studies have shown that transient local CTLA4Ig results in partial protection of allogeneic grafts. Our intent has been to determine whether sustained secretion of transgenic CTLA4Ig from pancreatic islets is able to protect against allograft rejection.


Mouse CTLA4 (test=CTLA4Ig) or CD5 leader sequence (control=CD5LIg) was fused to the Fc of mouse IgG2c, and expressed transgenically under the control of the rat insulin promoter in C57BL/6 mice carrying the bml mutation of H-2K(b) (B6.C-H-2(bm1)). This resulted in expression in pancreatic islets. We used ELISA quantification of transgene products secreted into the supernatants of cultured fetal pancreata to select high (CTLA4Ig(hi)) and low (CTLA4Ig(lo)) expresser transgenic mice. Cultured fetal pancreata were transplanted under the kidney capsule of wholly allogeneic CBA recipient mice. CTLA4Ig(hi) but not CTLA4Ig(lo) expresser grafts showed enhanced survival compared with control CD5LIg grafts at 6 weeks posttransplant, provided the recipient mice were transiently depleted of CD4 T cells (by a single low-dose injection of GK1.5) before transplantation.


Sustained local secretion of CTLA4Ig from transgenic grafts in combination with transient systemic CD4 T-cell depletion can enhance allograft acceptance.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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