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Transplantation. 1998 Apr 27;65(8):1066-71.

Quantitation of immunosuppression by flow cytometric measurement of the capacity of T cells for interleukin-2 production.

Author information

1
Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospital, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Methods to quantitate the effects of immunosuppressive drugs on immune reactivity might be helpful for monitoring immunosuppressive treatment. Cyclosporine (CsA) inhibits the induction of cytokine synthesis in T cells, and measurement of interleukin (IL)-2 production might constitute a parameter of this drug's effect.

METHODS:

We determined the percentages of CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes producing IL-2 upon stimulation by phorbol myristate acetate and calcium ionophore in whole blood culture, using immunostaining of intracytoplasmatic and membrane markers, followed by multiparameter flow cytometry. A total of 38 clinically stable transplant patients on various immunosuppressive protocols were studied.

RESULTS:

The percentage of CD4+ T cells producing IL-2 was strongly reduced in patients compared with healthy controls (23% [range, 3-68%] vs. 59.0% [range, 41-70%]; P=0.000035). The percentage of CD4+ T cells producing IL-2 was negatively correlated with the CsA level (Rc=-0.0821, P=0.00002297) but not with prednisolone or azathioprine doses. Fewer CD8+ T cells produced IL-2 in transplant patients compared with controls, but the difference failed to reach statistical significance. The percentage of CD8+ T cells capable of producing IL-2 was inversely correlated to CsA levels (Rc=-0.0375, P=0.0011).

CONCLUSIONS:

These data suggest that the functional effects of CsA in transplant recipients can be quantitatively determined and that the capacity of CD4+ T cells to produce IL-2 upon stimulation constitutes a functional parameter of CsA effects on the immune system. Prospective studies are required to determine whether this method is useful for clinical monitoring.

PMID:
9583867
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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