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Immunology. 2015 Jan;144(1):68-78. doi: 10.1111/imm.12351.

The effect of mammalian target of rapamycin inhibition on T helper type 17 and regulatory T cell differentiation in vitro and in vivo in kidney transplant recipients.

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Convergent Research Consortium for Immunologic Disease, Seoul St Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Seocho-gu, South Korea.


Sirolimus (SRL) is a promising alternative to calcineurin inhibitors, such as tacrolimus (TAC), in kidney transplant recipients (KTRs), but the immunological benefits of conversion from calcineurin inhibitors to SRL are not fully investigated. In the present study, we evaluated the effect of conversion from TAC to SRL on the T helper type 17/regulatory T (Th17/Treg) axis in three separate studies. First, the effect of SRL on the Th17/Treg axis was evaluated in vitro using peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Second, the effect of conversion from TAC to SRL on the Th17/Treg axis was studied in KTRs. Finally, the effect of SRL on CD8(+) Treg cells was evaluated. In vitro analysis of PBMCs isolated from KTRs showed that SRL suppressed Th17 cell differentiation but TAC did not. Conversion from TAC to SRL markedly decreased the number of effector memory CD8(+) T cells and significantly increased the proportion of CD4(+) and CD8(+) Treg cells compared with TAC in KTRs. SRL treatment induced the CD8(+) Treg cells, and these cells inhibited the proliferation of allogeneic CD4(+) T cells and Th17 cells. In conclusion, conversion from TAC to SRL favourably regulates Th17 and Treg cell differentiation in KTRs. These findings provide a rationale for conversion from TAC to SRL in KTRs.


T cells; cytokines; mTOR; regulatory T cells; transplantation

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