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Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2009;(188):215-32. doi: 10.1007/978-3-540-71029-5_10.

Use of rapamycin in the induction of tolerogenic dendritic cells.

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  • 1Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


Rapamycin (RAPA), a macrocyclic triene antibiotic pro-drug, is a clinically-utilized 'tolerance-sparing' immunosuppressant that inhibits the activity of T, B, and NK cells. Furthermore, maturation-resistance and tolerogenic properties of dendritic cells (DC) can be supported and preserved by conditioning with RAPA. Propagation of murine bone marrow (BM)-derived myeloid DC (mDC) in clinically relevant concentrations of RAPA (RAPA-DC) generates phenotypically immature DC with low levels of MHC and significantly reduced co-stimulatory molecules (especially CD86), even when exposed to inflammatory stimuli. RAPA-DC are weak stimulators of T cells and induce hyporesponsiveness and apoptosis in allo-reactive T cells. An interesting observation has been that RAPA-DC retain the ability to stimulate and enrich the regulatory T cells (Treg). Presumably as a result of these properties, alloantigen (alloAg)-pulsed recipient-derived DC are effective in subverting anti-allograft immune responses in rodent transplant models, making them an attractive subject for further investigation of their tolerance-promoting potential.

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