Anti-CD28 Antibody and Belatacept Exert Differential Effects on Mechanisms of Renal Allograft Rejection

Abstract : Belatacept is a biologic that targets CD80/86 and prevents its interaction with CD28 and its alternative ligand, cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4). Clinical experience in kidney transplantation has revealed a high incidence of rejection with belatacept, especially with intensive regimens, suggesting that blocking CTLA-4 is deleterious. We performed a head to head assessment of FR104 (n=5), a selective pegylated Fab9 antibody fragment antagonist of CD28 that does not block the CTLA-4 pathway, and belatacept (n=5) in kidney allotransplantation in baboons. The biologics were supplemented with an initial 1-month treatment with low-dose tacrolimus. In cases of acute rejection, animals also received steroids. In the belatacept group, four of five recipients developed severe, steroid-resistant acute cellular rejection, whereas FR104-treated animals did not. Assessment of regulatory T cell-specific demethylated region methylation status in 1-month biopsy samples revealed a nonsignificant trend for higher regulatory T cell frequencies in FR104-treated animals. Transcriptional analysis did not reveal significant differences in Th17 cytokines but did reveal higher levels of IL-21, the main cytokine secreted by CD4 T follicular helper (Tfh) cells, in belatacept-treated animals. In vitro, FR104 controlled the proliferative response of human preex-isting Tfh cells more efficiently than belatacept. In mice, selective CD28 blockade also controlled Tfh memory cell responses to KLH stimulation more efficiently than CD80/86 blockade. Our data reveal that selective CD28 blockade and belatacept exert different effects on mechanisms of renal allograft rejection, particularly at the level of Tfh cell stimulation.
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Simon Ville, Nicolas Poirier, Julien Branchereau, Vianney Charpy, Sabrina Pengam, et al.. Anti-CD28 Antibody and Belatacept Exert Differential Effects on Mechanisms of Renal Allograft Rejection. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, American Society of Nephrology, 2016, 27 (12), pp.3577-3588. ⟨10.1681/ASN.2015070774⟩. ⟨inserm-02150329⟩

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