Islet transplantation in children with autoimmune diabetes will require immunosuppression that has minimal toxicity and side-effects, and overcomes the barrier of autoimmunity. Since antibodies directed against the CD40/154 co-stimulatory pathway may meet these criteria, we have tested the ability of hamster antirat CD154 (AH.F5, Biogen) to prevent rejection of renal subcapsular islet allografts in streptozotocin (STZ) or autoimmune (AUTO) diabetic diabetes-resistant biobreeding (DRBB) rats. STZ diabetic rats that received anti-CD154 at 15 mg/kg per dose but not 10 mg/kg per dose did not have evidence of rejection until about 80-120 d post-transplantation, by which time antibody concentrations had returned to undetectable levels. Rats retreated with anti-CD154 before recurrence of diabetes had a prolonged period of disease-free survival. Most of these rats had recurrence following a spleen cell challenge. In contrast, AUTO diabetic DRBB rats treated with anti-CD154 had recurrence of diabetes between 7 and 12 d following transplantation of the Dark Agouti (DA) islets. In a separate set, AUTO diabetic rats that received a simultaneous islet isograft, islet allograft and thyroid allograft had focal accumulation of lymphocytes at the periphery of the isograft, while the islet and thyroid allografts had diffuse infiltration with lymphocytes and destruction of tissue with no residual staining for glucagon. Therefore, autoimmunity adds an additional barrier to islet allotransplantation that is not overcome with CD40/154 blockade in an animal model that closely parallels autoimmune diabetes in humans. The results indicate the importance of testing regimen of islet transplantation in animal models of autoimmune diabetes.
- Autoimmune diabetes
- Islet transplantation