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Cancer Immunol Immunother. 1992;35(5):355-63.

Blocked ricin-conjugated T cell immunotoxins: effect of anti-CD6-blocked ricin on normal T cell function.

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Division of Tumor Immunology, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02115.


The biological properties of an immunotoxin composed of an anti-CD6 monoclonal antibody conjugated to whole ricin, which had been modified so that the galactose-binding sites of the B chain were blocked ("blocked ricin"), were examined. Treatment of peripheral blood lymphocytes with anti-CD6-blocked ricin for a 24-h period prevented T cell proliferation induced by phytohemagglutinin in a dose-dependent manner with concentrations causing 50% inhibition (IC50) ranging from 5 pM to 30 pM. In contrast, treatment with either blocked ricin alone or with a control immunotoxin prepared with a B-cell-lineage-restricted monoclonal antibody gave IC50 values of approximately 2 nM. Although shortening the duration of the anti-CD6-blocked ricin treatment to as little as 3 h had little significant effect on the observed inhibition, T cell viability experiments demonstrated that the magnitude of immunotoxin-induced killing after a given time period is significantly higher when the target cells become activated. Thus, from the initial concentration of cells treated with anti-CD6-blocked ricin placed in culture, 40%-45% viable cells remained after 2 days yet only 3%-9% remained if phorbol ester and Ca2+ ionophore were added; activation of T cells after mock treatment using blocked ricin plus nonconjugated anti-CD6 demonstrated that this effect was not the result of activation alone. The toxicity of anti-CD6-blocked ricin was also measured by inhibition of PHA-induced clonogenic growth of normal T cells. Continuous treatment of the cells using anti-CD6-blocked ricin at 0.1 nM resulted in a surviving fraction of about 3.5 x 10(-3); when immunotoxin treatment was for 24 h or less, the surviving fraction was only about 10(-1). As an indication of the unique specificity of anti-CD6-blocked ricin, immunotoxin pretreatment of potential responder cells prevented the generation of allogeneic cytolytic T lymphocytes in mixed lymphocyte cultures yet had little effect on the generation of interleukin-2-induced lymphokine-activated killer cell activity. We conclude that anti-CD6-blocked ricin demonstrates a cellular specificity and potency that make it a highly promising anti-T cell reagent.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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