Antithymocyte globulin impairs T-cell/antigen-presenting cell interaction: disruption of immunological synapse and conjugate formation

Transplantation. 2007 Jul 15;84(1):117-21. doi: 10.1097/


Antithymocyte globulin (ATG) is employed for the treatment and prevention of acute organ rejection after transplantation. However, the mechanisms underlying its immunomodulatory capacities beyond cellular depletion remains ill defined. A stable interaction between T-cells and professional antigen-presenting cells (APC) and full T-cell stimulation requires a complex molecular rearrangement at the T-cell/APC interface, the so called immunological synapse. Here we investigated, whether ATG affects T-cell/APC interactions. ATG concentration and time-dependently inhibited relocalization of the T-cell receptor/CD3 complex as well as adhesion molecules and cytoskeletal proteins of human peripheral blood T-cells and a human T-cell line towards the APC contact site. Moreover, ATG-treated peripheral blood T-cells were incapable to form conjugates with APCs. In conclusion, ATG impairs T-cell/APC conjugate formation, a mechanism that may help to understand the functional inactivation of peripheral blood T-cells that have escaped cellular depletion after ATG treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / physiology*
  • Antilymphocyte Serum / administration & dosage
  • Antilymphocyte Serum / pharmacology*
  • CD3 Complex / metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism
  • Cell Communication / drug effects*
  • Cell Line
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Jurkat Cells
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Distribution / drug effects


  • Antilymphocyte Serum
  • CD3 Complex
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell