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J Heart Lung Transplant. 1996 Sep;15(9):928-35.

Preventing allograft rejection with CTLA4IG: effect of donor-specific transfusion route or timing.

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Section of Thoracic Surgery, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, USA.



Tolerance to alloantigen in transplant recipients could remove life-long dependence on immunosuppression. Evidence suggests that T-cell responses to alloantigen are dependent not only on T-cell receptor activation but also on costimulation by means of the CD28 receptor. The natural ligands for CD28, expressed on antigen-presenting cells, are B7 family members. CTLA4Ig (a soluble CD28 receptor analog) preferentially binds B7-1 and B7-2 and inhibits CD28 activation. Theoretically, T-cell receptor activation in the presence of alloantigen during CTLA4Ig blockade of CD28-B7 costimulation could render T cells tolerant to that specific alloantigen. In vivo CTLA4Ig significantly increases allograft survival times and can lead to transplantation tolerance. In the rat cardiac allograft model, donor-specific transfusion must be combined with CTLA4Ig to induce tolerance. Previously our laboratory has shown that timing is crucial in the induction of tolerance.


We examined the effect of differing routes (intravenous, portal vein, or intrathymic), as well as timing (before, at, and after transplantation), of donor-specific transfusion on its ability to synergize with CTLA4Ig using a rat heterotopic major histocompatibility complex-mismatch heart transplant model.


We found that tolerance induced by CTLA4Ig and donor-specific transfusion was antigen specific and that timing, but not route of donor-specific antigen administration, had an impact on tolerance induction. Intravenous donor-specific transfusion had a beneficial effect on allograft survival equal to portal vein and intrathymic routes, which have been believed to be more tolerogenic.


Almost universal engraftment can be induced with a combination of intravenous donor-specific transfusion at transplantation plus inhibition of CD28 activation by CTLA4Ig 48 hours after transplantation-a regimen which could have clinical application.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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