Background & aims: Anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF)α antibodies are effective in treating patients with Crohn's disease whereas soluble TNFα receptors have not shown clinical efficacy; the mechanism that underlies these different effects is not clear. We examined the immunosuppressive effects of different anti-TNFα reagents on activated T cells.
Methods: We studied the effects of anti-TNFα antibodies infliximab and adalimumab, the soluble TNFα receptor etanercept, the pegylated F(ab') fragment certolizumab, and certolizumab-immunoglobulin (Ig)G on primary activated T cells. T cells were grown in isolation or in a mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR). Proliferation was measured by (3)H thymidine incorporation and apoptosis was examined using Annexin V labeling and a colorimetric assay for activated caspase-3. Macrophage phenotypes were assayed by flow cytometry and cytokine secretion.
Results: Infliximab and adalimumab reduced T-cell proliferation in an MLR whereas etanercept and certolizumab did not; this effect was lost after Fc receptors were blocked. The infliximab F(ab')2 fragment did not inhibit proliferation whereas certolizumab-IgG did inhibit proliferation. In the MLR, the antibodies against TNF induced formation of a new population of macrophages in an Fc region-dependent manner; these macrophages had an immunosuppressive phenotype because they inhibit proliferation of activated T cells, produce anti-inflammatory cytokines, and express the regulatory macrophage marker CD206.
Conclusions: Regulatory macrophages have immunosuppressive properties and an important role in wound healing. Antibodies against TNF induce regulatory macrophages in an Fc region-dependent manner. These functions of anti-TNFs might contribute to the resolution of inflammation.
Copyright © 2011 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.