Non-human primate models of human disease have an important role in the translation of a new scientific finding in lower species into an effective treatment. In this study, we tested a new therapeutic antibody against the IL-7 receptor α chain (CD127), which in a C57BL/6 mouse model of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) ameliorates disease, demonstrating an important pathogenic function of IL-7. We observed that while the treatment was effective in 100 % of the mice, it was only partially effective in the EAE model in common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus), a small-bodied Neotropical primate. EAE was induced in seven female marmoset twins and treatment with the anti-CD127 mAb or PBS as control was started 21 days after immunization followed by weekly intravenous administration. The anti-CD127 mAb caused functional blockade of IL-7 signaling through its receptor as shown by reduced phosphorylation of STAT5 in lymphocytes upon stimulation with IL-7. Group-wise analysis showed no significant effects on the clinical course and neuropathology. However, paired twin analysis revealed a delayed disease onset in three twins, which were high responders to the immunization. In addition, we observed markedly opposite effects of the antibody on pathological changes in the spinal cord in high versus low responder twins. In conclusion, promising clinical effect of CD127 blockade observed in a standard inbred/SPF mouse EAE model could only be partially replicated in an outbred/non-SPF non-human primate EAE model. Only in high responders to the immunization we found a positive response to the treatment. The mechanism underpinning this dichotomous response will be discussed.

Autoimmunity, B cell, CD132, Common gamma chain, Immunotherapy, Lymphopoiesis, T cell,
Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology
Department of Immunology

Dunham, J, Lee, L.-F, van Driel, N, Laman, J.D, Ni, I, Zhai, W, … Kap, Y.S. (2016). Blockade of CD127 Exerts a Dichotomous Clinical Effect in Marmoset Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis. Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, 11(1), 73–83. doi:10.1007/s11481-015-9629-6