T-cell-mediated immunoregulation is one of the main mechanisms implicated in induction and maintenance of transplantation tolerance. In this regard, deletion or modulation of xeno/alloantigen-specific T cells, as well as blocking of their interactions with other cell populations, are currently being pursued for tolerance induction in humans as well as nonhuman primates. In order to investigate whether cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) may represent a suitable target for a T cell depletion approach in nonhuman primate models, we analysed CTLA-4 expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from nonhuman primates and the potential role of two anti-CTLA-4 saporin-conjugated immunotoxins. The analysis was performed in PBMCs from 8 cynomolgus monkeys from Philippines and from Mauritius both at protein level by flow cytometry and at transcriptional level by RT-PCR. In addition, the apoptotic role of the immunotoxins was investigated. The results showed that CTLA-4 was expressed at variable levels depending on the origin of the cynomolgus monkeys and the resting or activated cell condition. CTLA-4 was not expressed on resting Mauritius PBMCs and showed a lower upregulation upon PMA/PHA activation compared to the Philippines PBMCs that expressed CTLA-4 also before activation. Two CTLA-4 RNA transcripts (672 and 550 bp) were detected with levels variations after cell stimulation. Two anti-CTLA-4 immunotoxins induced in vitro apoptosis of activated PBMCs from both sources of cynomolgus monkeys. This is the first report that documents CTLA-4 expression both at protein and transcriptional level by nonhuman primate PBMCs and provides novel perspectives of xeno/allograft rejection immunotherapy based on CTLA-4 targeting.
- Cynomolgus monkeys
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