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Increased Sensitivities of Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells to Immunosuppressive Drugs in Cirrhosis Patients Awaiting Liver Transplantation

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Successful immunosuppressive therapy is critical for liver transplantation. However, a considerable number of patients show clinical resistance to the therapy and experience rejection episodes, or alternatively exhibits serious adverse effects of drugs. We examined the in vitro response of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) to immunosuppressive drugs in cirrhosis patients awaiting liver transplantation. We evaluated the suppressive efficacy of prednisolone, methylprednisolone, cyclosporine, and tacrolimus on the in vitro blastogenesis of PBMCs obtained from 22 cirrhosis patients and 31 healthy subjects. In vitro drug concentrations giving 50% inhibition of PBMC blastogenesis (IC50s) were calculated. Two out of these 22 patients received liver transplantation from living donors, and their clinical courses were surveyed until 5 weeks after operation. The median IC50 values for prednisolone, cyclosporine, and tacrolimus against blastogenesis of PBMCs from cirrhosis patients were significantly lower than those of PBMCs from healthy subjects (p < 0.01). However, large individual differences were observed in the IC50 values of the immunosuppressive drugs examined, especially in the cirrhosis patients. One recipient exhibiting high PBMC sensitivity to tacrolimus (IC50 = 0.001 ng/ml) showed good clinical course without rejection until 5 weeks after liver transplantation. The other recipient exhibiting relatively low PBMC sensitivity to taclolimus (IC50 = 0.30) showed allograft rejection at 1 week after operation. We concluded from these observations that PBMCs of cirrhosis patients are vulnerable to the immunosuppressive effects of prednisolone and calcineurin inhibitors. However, large individual variations in the IC50 values suggest that patients exhibiting relatively lower sensitivity to these drugs may have risks of rejection, whereas highly sensitive patients are possibly able to reduce the dose of immunosuppressive drugs to avoid serious drug-adverse effects, after liver transplantation.
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Keywords: Cirrhosis patients; Immunosuppressive drugs; Individualized medicine; Liver transplantation; Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs)

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of the 5th Surgery, Hachioji Medical Center, Tokyo Medical University, Tokyo, Japan, Department of Surgery, Kashgar First People's Hospital, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China 2: Department of the 5th Surgery, Hachioji Medical Center, Tokyo Medical University, Tokyo, Japan 3: Department of Practical Pharmacy, Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Science, Tokyo, Japan 4: Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Science, Tokyo, Japan

Publication date: 2006-10-01

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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