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Transplantation. 2010 Apr 27;89(8):928-36. doi: 10.1097/TP.0b013e3181d3c9d4.

Impact of immunosuppressants on the therapeutic efficacy of in vitro-expanded CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells in allotransplantation.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Ulsan University College of Medicine and Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.



Although the therapeutic potential of regulatory T lymphocytes (Tregs) in preventing allograft rejection has been well documented, accumulating evidence indicates that supplemental measures, such as concomitant use of immunosuppressive agents, are essential for effective application of Treg cell therapy in clinical transplantation. Thus, it is important to know the effect of immunosuppressive agents on Treg cell therapy.


We examined the impact of various immunosuppressive agents on the in vivo proliferation and therapeutic efficacy of in vitro-expanded Tregs using the murine graft-versus-host reaction and skin allograft model (BDF1 [H-2] to C57BL/6 [H-2]), respectively.


All six immunosuppressive agents tested inhibited the alloantigen-stimulated proliferation of Tregs as efficiently as they inhibited the proliferative response of conventional CD3 T cells. We further show that blockade of the CD40-CD40L interaction by treatment with a MR-1 antibody significantly increased the therapeutic efficacy of Tregs, a synergistic effect that seemed to be related to the strong regulatory activity of adoptively transferred Tregs together with effector T-cell hyporesponsiveness. Although concomitant use of rapamycin marginally augmented the therapeutic effectiveness of Tregs, mycophenolate mofetil and cyclosporine A at their full therapeutic doses exerted an antagonistic effect on Treg cell therapy.


These results demonstrate that inhibition of CD40-CD40L interaction or treatment with rapamycin could be successfully combined with in vitro-expanded Treg cell therapy, but the concomitant use of mycophenolate mofetil or cyclosporine A in this type of Treg cell therapy should be carefully considered.

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