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Open Access Comparative Study of the Cellular Pharmacodynamics of Tacrolimus in Renal Transplant Recipients Treated With and Without Basiliximab

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Basiliximab is a recently developed immunosuppressive agent for the prevention of acute allograft rejection in renal transplant recipients. The combination use of basiliximab and a calcineurin inhibitor was suggested to be more effective in comparison to immunosuppressive therapy using calcineurin inhibitor without basiliximab. Cyclosporine has been generally administered with basiliximab for renal transplant recipients. However, in cases of tacrolimus-based immunosuppressive regimen, the clinical efficacy and safety of combined use of tacrolimus and basiliximab remains to be elucidated. This study evaluated the tacrolimus pharmacological efficacy using a lymphocyte immunosuppressant sensitivity test (LIST) with MTT assay procedures in 16 cases of renal transplant recipients treated by tacrolimus without basiliximab and in 13 cases treated by tacrolimus in combination with basiliximab. The rate of acute rejection episodes in the recipients treated with tacrolimus plus basiliximab was 1/13 (7.7%), whereas the rate in the recipients treated with tacrolimus without basiliximab was 6/16 (37.5%). The recipients were divided into two groups according to their peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) sensitivity to tacrolimus [i.e., including a tacrolimus high sensitivity group (IC50 <1.0 ng/ml) and a low sensitivity group (IC50 >1.0 ng/ml). In the recipients treated with tacrolimus without basiliximab, the rate of acute rejection episodes in the tacrolimus high sensitivity group was 1/10 (10.0%), which was significantly lower than the rate in the low sensitivity group of 5/6 (83.3%; p = 0.008). The incidence of cytomegalovirus infection was not significantly different between the tacrolimus high and the low sensitivity groups of the recipients treated with tacrolimus with and without basiliximab. Therefore, in the case of selected tacrolimus-based immunosuppressive therapy for renal transplant recipients, the tacrolimus pharmacological efficacy should be evaluated using LIST at a time just before the transplant procedure in order to accurately predict allograft rejection. The data also suggested that low tacrolimus sensitivity recipients should be treated with tacrolimus-based immunosuppressive therapy in combination with basiliximab.

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Keywords: Basiliximab; Lymphocyte immunosuppressant sensitivity test (LIST); Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs); Renal transplantation; Tacrolimus

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Clinical Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Science, Tokyo, Japan

Publication date: 2012-02-01

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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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