In vivo evaluation of the novel calcineurin inhibitor ISATX247 in non-human primates

J Heart Lung Transplant. 2003 Dec;22(12):1343-52. doi: 10.1016/s1053-2498(03)00033-0.


Background: ISA(TX)247 is a novel calcineurin inhibitor that has shown more potency than cyclosporine in vitro. This is the first in vivo study of the effects of ISA(TX)247 on lymphocyte functions in non-human primates.

Methods: Groups of cynomolgus monkeys were treated orally twice daily for 7 days, each dose consisting of 25 mg/kg cyclosporine (n = 5), 25 mg/kg ISA(TX)247 (n = 6) or 50 mg/kg ISA(TX)247 (n = 6). Levels of cyclosporine and ISA(TX)247 in whole blood were measured by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry. After mitogen stimulation, lymphocyte proliferation was assessed by tritium-labeled thymidine incorporation and by flow cytometry (expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen in cells in S/G(2)M phase). Flow cytometry was also used to assess production of intracellular cytokines by T cells (interleukin-2, interferon-gamma, tumor necrosis factor-alpha) and expression of T-cell surface activation antigens (CD25, CD71, CD11a, CD95, CD154).

Results: Trough (C(14 hr)) and peak (C(3 hr)) drug levels, as well as area under the concentration-time curve, were significantly higher for cyclosporine than ISA(TX)247 (370 ng/ml vs 70 ng/ml, 877 ng/ml vs 303 ng/ml and 6,262 ng. h/ml vs 1,979 ng. h/ml, respectively). On Day 7 at C(14 hr), lymphocyte proliferation had been suppressed by approximately 50% in all groups compared with proliferation before treatment. Three hours after dosing, lymphocyte proliferation was inhibited significantly more by ISA(TX)247 (approximately 80%, with no differences between the two ISA(TX)247 dose levels) than by cyclosporine (65% inhibition). Similar differences between the immunosuppressive effects of ISA(TX)247 and cyclosporine were found for inhibition of expression of T-cell surface activation antigens. Despite lower ISA(TX)247 exposures compared with cyclosporine, the cyclosporine treatment only rarely suppressed cytokine production more than treatment with ISA(TX)247.

Conclusions: In non-human primates, ISA(TX)247 produces a greater or similar inhibition of lymphocyte proliferation, expression of T-cell activation surface antigens, and cytokine production when compared with cyclosporine, despite ISA(TX)247's lower blood levels and total exposure. We conclude that ISA(TX)247 suppresses diverse T-cell functions more potently than cyclosporine in non-human primates in vivo.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / metabolism
  • Calcineurin Inhibitors*
  • Cyclosporine / pharmacology*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Male
  • Models, Animal
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • T-Lymphocytes / physiology


  • Antigens, CD
  • Calcineurin Inhibitors
  • Cytokines
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • voclosporin
  • Cyclosporine