Wednesday July 04, 2018 from 17:15 to 18:45
Costimulatory Blockade with CTLA4-Ig Abrogates Prolonged Graft Survival in Old Recipients
Timm Heinbokel1, Markus Quante1,2, Karoline Edtinger1,3, Koichiro Minami1, Yeqi Nian1, Ashley Lau1, Abdallah Elkhal1, Stefan G Tullius1.
1Transplant Surgery Research Lab, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, United States; 2Department of General, Visceral and Transplant Surgery, Tuebingen Unversity Hospital, Tuebingen, Germany; 3Department of Surgery, University Hospital Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany
Introduction: Although they represent a rapidly growing population, elderly organ transplant recipients are underrepresented in clinical trials. Age-specific aspects of established immunosuppressants are therefore poorly understood.
Methods: Here, we assessed the impact of immunosuppressive treatment with CTLA4-Ig, a fusion protein blocking costimulatory signaling between APCs and T cells through CD28, on alloimmune responses in old and young recipients (2-3 months vs. 16 months) in a fully MHC-mismatched murine transplantation models.
Results: While treatment with CTLA4-Ig prolonged skin graft survival in young recipients, the same treatment was unable to prolong graft survival in old recipients. Conversely, cardiac allografts in young mice treated with CTLA4-Ig survived indefinitely, while 80% of old recipients treated with CTLA4-Ig had lost their graft after 100 days (log-rank test, p<0.001; n=5/group; Fig. 1).
CTLA4-Ig reduced the in-vivo proliferation of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells (as assessed by BrdU incorporation) uniformly in both young and old recipients; in contrast, CTLA4-Ig reduced CD4+ central-memory and effector-memory T cells only in young but not old recipients. Moreover, systemic frequencies of CD4+IFN-γ+ T cells and systemic levels of IFN-γ cytokine production were reduced in young recipients, but remained unchanged in old. CTLA4-Ig caused significant perturbation in the Treg compartments with reduced frequencies and compromised proliferation of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ cells. These differences correlated with a significant reduction in expression of CD28 on T cells in old mice, while levels of CTLA4 remained stable.
Conclusion: Immunosuppressive effects of costimulatory blockade with CTLA4-Ig showed distinct age-dependent effects in both skin and cardiac transplantation. Reduced expression of CD28 with aging may represent an escape mechanism for old alloreactive T cells, with unique clinical consequences for immunosuppression in the growing population of elderly transplant recipients.