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Transpl Immunol. 1999 Jun;7(2):115-21.

Sensitization following Thymoglobulin and Atgam rejection therapy as determined with a rapid enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. US Thymoglobulin Multi-Center Study Group.

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SangStat Medical Corporation, Freemont, California 94555, USA.


Monoclonal and polyclonal anti-thymocyte preparations play an important role in solid organ transplant immunosuppression. While it is generally accepted that blocking anti-idiotypic antibodies can decrease the efficacy of retreatment with mouse monoclonal antibody preparations, sensitization levels and subsequent effects on treatment efficacy are less clear for polyclonal preparations. Serum samples were obtained from 148 patients participating in a multicentre, double-blind randomized phase III trial comparing Atgam (Pharmacia Upjohn, horse anti-thymocyte globulin) with Thymoglobulin (SangStat Medical Corporation, rabbit anti-thymocyte globulin). Recipients of a first or second renal allograft undergoing biopsy proven acute rejection were randomized to treatment with Atgam or Thymoglobulin. Serum samples were analysed for presence of anti-thymoglobulin and anti-Atgam antibodies. Sensitization levels to rabbit IgG in Thymoglobulin-treated patients (68%, n = 54) was similar to sensitization to horse IgG in Atgam-treated patients (78%, n = 54) (two-sided p value = 0.4, Fisher's exact test), although Atgam-treated patients remained sensitized longer (at day 90, 67% anti-horse IgG positive in Atgam treated vs 24% anti-rabbit IgG in Thymoglobulin positive, p = 0.001). No difference was seen in the production of a crossreactive response. Similarly, sensitization had no significant effect on treatment success or failure. For Thymoglobulin-treated patients, the sensitization rate in successfully treated patients was 68%, while inpatients with treatment failures it was 71% (p = not significant, ns). In Atgam-treated patients, the sensitization rate in successfully treated patients was 82%, while in patients with treatment failures it was 67% (p = ns). In conclusion, patients treated with Thymoglobulin and patients treated with Atgam exhibited similar levels of sensitization, presensitization and crossreactive sensitization, although the anti-horse response was longer lasting; neither presensitization nor treatment-induced sensitization appeared to effect treatment efficacy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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