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Haematologica. 2013 Jan;98(1):23-30. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2012.067611. Epub 2012 Jul 16.

Rabbit antithymocyte globulin (thymoglobulin) impairs the thymic output of both conventional and regulatory CD4+ T cells after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in adult patients.

Author information

1
Department of Hematology, Oncology and Tumor Immunology, Charité, Berlin, Germany. il-kang.na@charite.de

Abstract

Rabbit antithymocyte globulin-Genzyme™ is used to prevent graft-versus-host disease after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Common disadvantages of treatment are infectious complications. The effects of rabbit antithymocyte globulin-Genzyme™ on thymic function have not been well-studied. Multicolor flow cytometry was used to analyze the kinetics of conventional and regulatory T cells in adult patients treated (n=12) or not treated (n=8) with rabbit antithymocyte globulin-Genzyme™ during the first 6 months after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Patients treated with rabbit antithymocyte globulin-Genzyme™ had almost undetectable levels of recent thymic emigrants (CD45RA(+)CD31(+)) of both conventional and regulatory CD4T cells throughout the 6 months after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation whereas CD4(+)CD45RA-memory T cells were less affected, but their levels were also significantly lower than in patients not treated with rabbit antithymocyte globulin-Genzyme™. In vitro, rabbit antithymocyte globulin-Genzyme™ induced apoptosis and cytolysis of human thymocytes, and its cytotoxic effects were greater than those of rabbit antithymocyte globulin-Fresenius™. Rabbit antithymocyte globulin-Genzyme™ in combination with a conditioning regimen strongly impairs thymic recovery of both conventional and regulatory CD4(+) T cells. The sustained depletion of conventional and regulatory CD4(+)T cells carries a high risk of both infections and graft-versus-host disease. Our data indicate that patients treated with rabbit antithymocyte globulin-Genzyme™ could benefit from thymus-protective therapies and that trials comparing this product with other rabbit antithymocyte globulin preparations or lymphocyte-depleting compounds would be informative.

PMID:
22801968
PMCID:
PMC3533656
DOI:
10.3324/haematol.2012.067611
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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