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Transpl Int. 2013 May;26(5):552-61. doi: 10.1111/tri.12080. Epub 2013 Mar 15.

Targeting the Kv1.3 potassium channel for immunosuppression in vascularized composite allotransplantation - a pilot study.

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Department of Visceral, Transplant and Thoracic Surgery, Center of Operative Medicine, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.


Kv1.3-channels are critically involved in activation and function of effector memory T cells. Blocking Kv1.3-channels was investigated for its effect on skin rejection in a rat limb-transplantation-model. Animals received the Kv1.3-blocker correolide C systemically or locally as intra-graft-treatment in combination with tacrolimus. Systemic (intraperitoneal) administration of correolide C resulted in slight, but significant prolongation of allograft survival compared with untreated and placebo treated controls. In 4/6 correolide C treated animals, histology showed an intact epidermis and a mild infiltrate by day 10. High correolide C plasma trough levels correlated with prolonged allograft survival. A decrease in CD4+ and CD8+ effector memory T cells was observed in allograft skin, peripheral blood and the spleen on day 5. When applied subcutaneously in combination with systemic tacrolimus (30 days+/-anti-lymphocyte serum) detectable, but insignificant prolongation of graft survival was achieved. 2/5 animals showed an intact epidermis and a mild infiltrate until day 45. Tapering systemic tacrolimus and weaning on day 50 resulted in rejection by day 55, regardless of local correolide C treatment. Subcutaneous injection did not lead to systemic plasma levels. The Kv1.3-channel is a potential drug target worth exploring in more detail for immunosuppression in vascularized composite allotransplantation.

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