Calcineurin inhibitor-free CD28 blockade-based protocol protects allogeneic islets in nonhuman primates

Andrew B. Adams, Nozomu Shirasugi, Megan M. Durham, Elizabeth Strobert, Dan Andersen, Phyllis Rees, Shannon Cowan, Huaying Xu, Yelena Blinder, Michael Cheung, Dianne Hollenbaugh, Norma S. Kenyon, Thomas C. Pearson, Christian P. Larsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations


Recent success using a steroid-free immunosuppressive regimen has renewed enthusiasm for the use of islet transplantation to treat diabetes. Toxicities associated with the continued use of a calcineurin inhibitor may limit the wide-spread application of this therapy. Biological agents that block key T-cell costimulatory signals, in particular the CD28 pathway, have demonstrated extraordinary promise in animal models. LEA29Y (BMS-224818), a mutant CTLA4-Ig molecule with increased binding activity, was evaluated for its potential to replace tacrolimus and protect allogeneic islets in a preclinical primate model. Animals received either the base immunosuppression regimen (rapamycin and anti-IL-2R monoclonal antibody [mAb]) or the base immunosuppression and LEA29Y. Animals receiving the LEA29Y/rapamycin/anti-IL-2R regimen (n = 5) had significantly prolonged islet allograft survival (204, 190, 216, 56, and >220 days). In contrast, those animals receiving the base regimen alone (n = 2) quickly rejected the transplanted islets at 1 week (both at 7 days). The LEA29Y-based regimen prevented the priming of anti-donor T- and B-cell responses, as detected by interferon-γ enzyme-linked immunospot and allo-antibody production, respectively. The results of this study suggest that LEA29Y is a potent immunosuppressant that can effectively prevent rejection in a steroid-free immunosuppressive protocol and produce marked prolongation of islet allograft survival in a preclinical model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-270
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


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