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Clin Immunol. 2009 Aug;132(2):222-33. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2009.04.002. Epub 2009 May 17.

Intravenous immunoglobulin G-mediated inhibition of T-cell proliferation reflects an endogenous mechanism by which IgG modulates T-cell activation.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada.


Commercial intravenous immunoglobulin G (IVIG) at high doses has therapeutic benefit in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. It has been shown to inhibit T-cell function but the mechanisms are unclear. Inhibition could result from IVIG processing, donor pooling or intrinsic downregulatory activity of IgG. To address these points, we compared the effects on T-cell activation of IVIG, Fab(2) fragment and IgG isolated from single-donor plasma. We also investigated the role of accessory cells in the IVIG effects using highly purified T cells stimulated through CD3 and CD28 engagement. T-cell proliferation was evaluated by Oregon Green 488 dye dilution and (3)H-thymidine incorporation. IVIG, Fab(2) fragment of IVIG and autologous, single-donor IgG significantly inhibited T-cell proliferation (35-50%), even in the absence of accessory cells. Depletion of IgG from plasma used for culture significantly increased (by 50%) the T-cell proliferation. The addition of physiological concentrations of single-donor, autologous IgG or IVIG to IgG-depleted plasma reduced T-cell proliferation to levels observed in normal plasma. Therefore, donor pooling in IVIG and accessory cells are not required for inhibition of T-cell proliferation by IVIG and the Fab(2) region is sufficient to mediate this inhibition. Suppression of T-cell activation by IVIG likely reflects a physiologic, endogenous mechanism of IgG-mediated regulation of T-cell activation.

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