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Decreased frequency of peripheral CD4+CD161+ Th17‐precursor cells in kidney transplant recipients on long‐term therapy with Belatacept

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Clinical trials have pointed out the promising role of co‐stimulation blocker Belatacept for improvement of graft function and avoidance of undesired side‐effects associated with calcineurin‐inhibitors (CNI). However, due to the worldwide limited availability of appropriate patients, almost no data exist to assess the effects of sustained application of this immunomodulator on the recipient’s immune system. The aim of this study was to reveal specific alterations in the composition of immunologic subpopulations potentially involved in development of tolerance or chronic graft rejection following long‐term Belatacept therapy. For this, peripheral lymphocyte subsets of kidney recipients treated with Belatacept (n = 5; average 7.8 years) were determined by flow‐cytometry and compared with cells from matched patients on CNI (n = 9) and healthy controls (n = 10). T cells capable of producing IL‐17 and serum levels of soluble CD30 were quantified. Patients on CNI showed a higher frequency of CD4+CD161+ Th17‐precursors and IL‐17‐producing CD4+ T cells than Belatacept patients and controls. Significantly higher serum levels of soluble CD30 were observed in CNI patients, indicating a possible involvement of the CD30/CD30L‐system in Th17‐differentiation. No differences were found concerning CD4+CD25+CD127lowFoxP3+ regulatory T cells. In conclusion, patients on therapy with Belatacept did not show a comparable Th17‐profile to that seen in individuals with chronic intake of CNI. The distinct effects of Belatacept on Th17‐immunity might prove beneficial for the long‐term outcome following kidney transplantation.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Transplant Laboratory, Department of General, Visceral and Transplantation Surgery, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany

Publication date: 2012-04-01

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