Background: We previously demonstrated in vitro and in vivo that an IkappaB kinase (IKK) inhibitor blocks cytokine production and suppresses immune responses. These results indicate that a potent IKK inhibitor may have the potential of being a novel therapeutic agent for the prevention of graft rejection.
Methods: The IKK inhibitor BMS-345541 was tested in mice for its ability to inhibit anti-CD3-induced interleukin (IL)-2 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha production and T-cell proliferation in an in vivo mixed lymphocyte reaction. BMS-345541 was further tested for its ability to suppress graft rejection in a murine nonvascularized heterotopic cardiac allograft model. BMS-345541 was tested as a single agent and in combination with other immunomodulators for inhibition of T-cell proliferation and graft rejection in vivo.
Results: BMS-345541 suppressed, in a dose-dependent manner, the production of both IL-2 and TNF-alpha in mice stimulated with an injection of anti-CD3 antibody. Approximately 70% inhibition of both IL-2 and TNF were observed at a dose of 100 mg/kg. When BMS-345541 was administered at 100 mg/kg as a single agent, in vivo T-cell proliferation was not inhibited. However, when combined with a suboptimal dose of cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 immunoglobulin (200 microg), a synergistic antiproliferative effect was observed, resulting in 77% inhibition of CD4+ T-cell proliferation. In the murine heterotopic heart transplant model, BMS-345541 did not prolong graft survival when administered at 50 mg/kg as a single agent. However, when administered with a suboptimal dose of cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 immunoglobulin or cyclosporine A (15 mg/kg), graft survival was significantly increased compared with either agent alone.
Conclusions: These results indicate that inhibition of IKK may serve as novel adjunctive therapy for the prevention of graft rejection.