Anti-CD25 mAb's are used for prophylaxis of rejection in allograft transplantation. These agents target the α-chain, part of the IL-2Rαβγ complex. The β- and γ-chain are signaling components that are not specific for IL-2. The T-cell growth factors IL2, IL-7 and IL-15 utilize the γ-chain and IL-2 and IL-15 share the β-chain. We have studied the consequences of targeting the IL-2R α-chain with the anti-CD25 mAb basiliximab by measuring the IL-2R αβγ expression levels and the IL-2, IL-7 and IL-15 driven proliferation. By flowcytometry and limiting dilution analysis, the IL-2R complex was analyzed in peripheral blood samples from renal allograft recipients (n=29) who received basiliximab (20 mg IV bolus on day 0 and 4), cyclosporin and mycophenolate mofetil. In peripheral blood, after induction therapy with basiliximab, no CD25 positive T-cells were detectable for 61 days (median, range 25-93 days). When CD25 cells were covered with basiliximab, the percentage and the mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) of IL-2Rβ positive T-cells significantly decreased, P=0.02 and P=0.013, respectively, whereas the expression level of the IL-2Rγ was not affected. The inhibition of the expression of the IL-2R α- and β-chain had significant consequences for the function of these cells. Both the IL-2- and the IL-15-dependent proliferation were inhibited, P=0.007 and P=0.01, respectively. The control, the IL-7 driven proliferation, was not influenced by basiliximab. In conclusion, therapy with anti-CD25 mAb's affect T-cell-dependent allogeneic immune responses, not only by blocking IL-2 signaling but also by impairing IL-15 signaling through downregulating the IL-2/IL-15 receptor β-chain.

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Transplant Immunology
Department of Internal Medicine

Baan, C., van Riemsdijk-van Overbeeke, I., Boelaars-van Haperen, M. J. A. M., IJzermans, J., & Weimar, W. (2002). Inhibition of the IL-15 pathway in anti-CD25 mAb treated renal allograft recipients. Transplant Immunology, 10(1), 81–87. doi:10.1016/S0966-3274(02)00052-7