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Am J Transplant. 2008 Apr;8(4):793-802. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2007.02134.x. Epub 2008 Feb 5.

CD4+ CD25+ FOXP3+ regulatory T cells increase de novo in kidney transplant patients after immunodepletion with Campath-1H.

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1
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Surgery, Division of Solid Organ Transplantation, Madison, WI, USA. bloom@surgery.wisc.edu

Abstract

Campath-1H (Alemtuzumab) is an effective immunodepletion agent used in renal transplantation. To evaluate its influence on T lymphocytes during repletion, we analyzed peripheral blood from Campath-1H-treated renal allograft recipients for the presence of FOXP3(+) regulatory T (Treg) cells. Flow cytometry demonstrated that CD4(+)CD25(+)FOXP3(+) lymphocytes increased significantly within the CD4(+) T-cell population, skewing Treg/Teff (T effector) ratios for up to several years. In contrast, Treg levels in patients treated with anti-CD25 (Basiliximab) and maintained on CsA demonstrated a sustained decrease. The increase in Tregs in Campath-1H treated patients developed independent of maintenance immunosuppression. Importantly, the increase in Tregs was not fully explained by their homeostatic proliferation, increased thymic output, or Treg sparing, suggesting de novo generation/expansion. Consistent with this, in vitro stimulation of PBMCs with Campath-1H, with or without anti-CD3, activation led to an increase in CD4(+)CD25(+)FOXP3(+) cells that had suppressive capabilities. Together, these data suggest that Campath-1H promotes an increase in peripheral Tregs and may act as an intrinsic generator of Tregs in vivo.

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