CTLA-4 is important in maintaining long-term survival of cardiac allografts


Applied Research and Histocompatibility


INTRODUCTION: CTLA-4 is a negative regulatory molecule upregulated on activated T cells; however, its role in induction and maintenance of transplant tolerance is not well understood.

METHODS: The characteristics and effects of a novel mouse anti-rat CTLA-4 antibody (Ab) (242B58) were examined using fluorescence-activated cell sorter, mixed lymphocyte reaction, enzyme-linked immunospot, signaling studies, and a rat model of cardiac transplant tolerance induced by administration of anti-CD28 Ab and cyclosporine.

RESULTS: The anti-CTLA4 Ab was shown to bind to CTLA-4 but not prevent subsequent binding of B7 to CTLA-4. Binding to CTLA-4 did not result in phosphorylation of early cytoplasmic tyrosine kinases, suggesting that this is not a signaling Ab. However, its in vitro function was compatible with antagonization of the effects of CTLA-4, thereby increasing T-cell proliferation and interferon-gamma production in mixed lymphocyte reaction and enzyme-linked immunospot assays, respectively. Administration of 242B58 to animals treated with anti-CD28 Ab and cyclosporine either at the time of transplantation or various time-points up to 33 days posttransplantation did not result in immediate rejection, but rather caused a delayed severe acute allograft rejection at approximately 45 days posttransplant.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results seem to be a reflection of the unique properties of the 242B58 Ab, which does not antagonize B7 binding to CTLA-4 and affect its ability to out-compete CD28 for B7 binding. It does, however, seem to interfere with CTLA-4 signaling, suggesting that competition for B7 may be important in induction of tolerance, but signaling through CTLA-4 is more important in maintaining a tolerant phenotype.

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