Immunomodulation of transplant rejection using monoclonal antibodies and soluble receptors

Maria Luisa Alegre, Deborah J. Lenschow, Jeffrey A. Bluestone

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The main objective of our studies has been to optimize the effects of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) and other immunosuppressive reagents to enhance organ graft survival. One such agent is OKT3, a MAb that is directed against the CD3 component of the human T-cell receptor (TCR) complex. Treatment of a rejection episode with OKT3 results in a rapid and efficient clearing of circulating T cells and reversal of most rejection episodes. Its wider use in transplantation and in the treatment of immune-mediated disease is limited by adverse reactions that follow the initial dose, the production of neutralizing Abs, and the transient nature of the immunosuppression. We have engineered CDR-grafted "humanized" anti-CD3 MAbs that lack Fc-receptor binding activity through mutagenesis of amino acids in the Fc portion of the MAb. This results in an immunosuppressive anti-CD3 MAb that is less antigenic and one that does not induce the first-dose side effects. In addition, we have pursued a goal of developing a therapy that will induce donor-specific tolerance while maintaining overall recipient immune competency. Because antigen-specific T-cell activation depends not only on TCR-ligand interaction, but also on additional costimulatory signals mediated by accessory molecules such as CD28, blocking the binding of CD28 on T cells to its ligand B7, during TCR engagement, might modulate transplantation responses. Using a soluble fusion protein of human CTLA4, CTLA4-Ig, that binds B7 with high affinity, inhibition of human pancreatic islet rejection that occurs, at least in part, by affecting T-cell recognition of human B7+ antigen-presenting cells has been demonstrated. In addition, CTLA4-Ig induces long-term, donor-specific unresponsiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-64
Number of pages7
JournalDigestive diseases and sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995


  • immunosuppression
  • monoclonal antibodies
  • transplantation


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