Toxicity and efficacy of anti-T-cell ricin toxin A chain immunotoxins in a murine model of established graft-versus-host disease induced across the major histocompatibility barrier

D. A. Vallera, S. F. Carroll, D. C. Snover, G. J. Carlson, B. R. Blazar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) was induced across the murine major histocompatibility complex by injecting C57BL/6 (H-2b) bone marrow and splenocytes into lethally irradiated B10.BR (H-2(k)) murine recipients. An immunotoxin (IT) composed of a pan T-cell monoclonal antibody called anti-Ly1 (the murine homologue to human anti-CD5) was conjugated to ricin toxin A chain (anti-Ly1-RTA) and used to treat recipient mice. In vitro, IT was as active as free RTA, bound selectively, and inhibited T-cell proliferation even in the absence of potentiators. Mice administered anti-Ly1-RTA in vivo during ongoing GVHD, at a dose of 10 μg/d for 5 days, showed lower numbers of splenic Thy1.2+ T cells and significantly improved survival as compared with mice given phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) or irrelevant control RTA IT. Protection was transient because GVHD and weight loss occurred when injections ceased. Survival could not be enhanced by crosslinking RTA30, a low oligosaccharide-containing fraction of purified RTA. Treatment with anti-Ly1-RTA caused a significant elevation in neutrophils, and higher doses were associated with mild hepatotoxicity. In contrast, infusion of identical doses and schedules of another pan T-cell immunotoxin, anti-Thy1.2-RTA, caused a significant decrease in lymphocytes, but not neutrophils; a precipitous increase in weight; a decrease in total plasma protein (TPP); and an increase in pleural and peritoneal effusions reminiscent of vascular leak syndrome (VLS). Although the toxic effects of anti-Thy1.2-RTA were too severe to show a survival advantage in a GVHD model, histopathologic studies showed a definite anti-GVHD effect. The most significant decline in GVHD as compared with the PBS-treated controls was observed in skin, and to a lesser extent, in liver and lung. To investigate the cause of IT toxicity, anti-Thy1.2-RTA was administered intraperitoneally to lethally irradiated B10.BR (H-2(k)) recipients of syngeneic bone marrow. These recipients showed the same weight gain, hypoproteinuria, and VLS observed in the GVHD model. Death occurred at higher anti-Thy1.2-RTA doses (30 or 50 μg/daily injections administered days 8 through 12 posttransplant). Anti-Thy1.2-RTA had a negligible effect on renal function, but histologic studies showed patchy dropout of the renal tubules. Treatment resulted in pulmonary vascular congestion, but there was no pathologic evidence of liver, brain, or colon toxicity. Weight gain was enhanced by irradiation because nonirradiated normal mice did not undergo such a precipitous weight increase. In contrast, similar doses of anti-Ly1-RTA were not lethal, but induced weight loss and significantly increased neutrophil levels as in the GVHD model. Anti-Ly1-RTA injections had no effect on plasma protein levels, liver, kidney, or lung. Control antihuman CD5-RTA was not toxic in transplanted mice. Findings in these two murine models suggest that Ly1+ cells are at least partially involved in the effector phase of GVHD, irradiation enhances IT toxicity, toxicities observed in mice were similar to those observed in clinical trials, and that IT made with a monoclonal antibody recognizing different determinants may have different toxicities dictated, at least partially, by the monoclonal antibody moeity of the IT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-194
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991


Dive into the research topics of 'Toxicity and efficacy of anti-T-cell ricin toxin A chain immunotoxins in a murine model of established graft-versus-host disease induced across the major histocompatibility barrier'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this