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Immunobiology. 2019 Apr 2. pii: S0171-2985(19)30019-1. doi: 10.1016/j.imbio.2019.04.003. [Epub ahead of print]

The novel immunosuppressant prenylated quinolinecarboxylic acid-18 (PQA-18) suppresses macrophage differentiation and cytotoxicity in xenotransplantation.

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Department of Surgery, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine Japan.
Department of Surgery, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine Japan. Electronic address:
Graduate School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, Hiroshima University, Japan.


Innate immunity plays a major role in xenograft rejection. However, the majority of immunosuppressants focus on inhibiting acquired immunity and not innate immunity. Therefore, a novel immunosuppressant suitable for use in conjunction with xenografts continues to be needed. It has been reported that prenylated quinolinecarboxylic acid-18 (PQA-18), a p21-activated kinase 2 (PAK2) inhibitor, exerts an immunosuppressive function on T cells. Hence, the possibility exists that PQA-18 might be used in conjunction with xenografts, which prompted us to investigate the efficacy of PQA-18 on macrophages compared with Tofacitinib, a janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor. Initial experiments confirmed that PQA-18 is non-toxic to swine endothelial cells (SECs) and human monocytes. Both PQA-18 and Tofacitinib suppressed macrophage-mediated cytotoxicity in both the differentiation and effector phases. Both PQA-18 and tofacitinib suppressed the expression of HLA-ABC by macrophages. However, contrary to Tofacitinib, PQA-18 also significantly suppressed the expression of CD11b, HLA-DR and CD40 on macrophages. PQA-18 significantly suppressed CCR7 expression on day 3 and on day 6, but Tofacitinib-induced suppression only on day 6. In a mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR) assay, PQA-18 was found to suppress Interleukin-2 (IL-2)-stimulated T cell proliferation to a lesser extent than Tofacitinib. However, PQA-18 suppressed xenogeneic-induced T cell proliferation more strongly than Tofacitinib on day 3 and the suppression was similar on day 7. In conclusion, PQA-18 has the potential to function as an immunosuppressant for xenotransplantation.


Immunosuppressant; MLR; Macrophages; PQA-18; Tofacitinib; Xenotransplantation

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