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J Clin Immunol. 2010 Jan;30(1):167-77. doi: 10.1007/s10875-009-9323-7. Epub 2009 Sep 16.

Oral administration of OKT3 monoclonal antibody to human subjects induces a dose-dependent immunologic effect in T cells and dendritic cells.

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  • 1Center for Neurologic Diseases, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



Parenteral OKT3 is used to treat transplant rejection and a humanized anti-CD3 Mab has shown positive clinical effects in new onset diabetes. Oral administration of anti-CD3 has not been tested in humans, but suppresses autoimmunity in animal models. Beta-glucosylceramide enhances NKT cell and regulatory T cell activity and enhances the effects of oral anti-CD3 in animals.


Fifteen healthy volunteers (three per group) received orally administered OKT3 over a dose range of 0.2 to 5.0 mg daily with or without beta-glucosylceramide 7.5 mg for 5 days. Safety and immune parameters were measured on days 5, 10, and 30.


Oral OKT3 enhanced T cell proliferation, suppressed Th1 and Th17 responses by 43% and 41%, respectively, increased TGF-beta/IL-10 expression and decreased IL-23/IL-6 expression by dendritic cells, and affected the IgG repertoire as measured by antigen arrays. Co-administration of oral beta-glucosylceramide induced similar effects. No side effects were observed and no subjects developed human anti-mouse antibodies.


These findings demonstrate that oral anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody is safe and biologically active in humans and presents a new avenue for the treatment of autoimmune diseases.

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