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Blood. 2008 Sep 1;112(5):1662-72. doi: 10.1182/blood-2008-01-128413. Epub 2008 Jun 23.

Transient blockade of the inducible costimulator pathway generates long-term tolerance to factor VIII after nonviral gene transfer into hemophilia A mice.

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Department of Pediatrics, Seattle Children's Hospital Research Institute and University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98101, USA.


Formation of inhibitory antibodies is a common problem encountered in clinical treatment for hemophilia. Human factor VIII (hFVIII) plasmid gene therapy in hemophilia A mice also leads to strong humoral responses. We demonstrate that short-term therapy with an anti-ICOS monoclonal antibody to transiently block the inducible costimulator/inducible costimulator ligand (ICOS/ICOSL) signaling pathway led to sustained tolerance to hFVIII in hFVIII plasmid-treated hemophilia A mice and allowed persistent, high-level FVIII functional activity (100%-300% of normal). Anti-ICOS treatment resulted in depletion of ICOS(+)CD4(+) T cells and activation of CD25(+)Foxp3(+) Tregs in the peripheral blood, spleen, and lymph nodes. CD4(+) T cells from anti-ICOS-treated mice did not proliferate in response to hFVIII stimulation and produced high levels of regulatory cytokines, including interleukin-10 and transforming growth factor-beta. Moreover, CD4(+)CD25(+) Tregs from tolerized mice adoptively transferred dominant tolerance in syngeneic hFVIII plasmid-treated hemophilia A mice and reduced the production of antibodies against FVIII. Anti-ICOS-treated mice tolerized to hFVIII generated normal primary and secondary antibody responses after immunization with the T-dependent antigen, bacteriophage Phix 174, indicating maintenance of immune competency. Our data indicate that transient anti-ICOS monoclonal antibody treatment represents a novel single-agent immunomodulatory strategy to overcome the immune responses against transgene product after gene therapy.

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