Effect of everolimus on the immunomodulation of the human neutrophil inflammatory response and activation

Cell Mol Immunol. 2015 Jan;12(1):40-52. doi: 10.1038/cmi.2014.24. Epub 2014 Jun 2.


The primary cause of mortality at 5 years following a cardiac transplantation is the development of atherosclerosis, termed coronary allograft vasculopathy (CAV). This pathology is characterized by diffused intimal hyperplasia and emanates from coronary arterial injuries caused by immune inflammatory cells. Neutrophils play an important role in this inflammatory process; however, their potential participation in the pathogenesis of CAV is poorly understood. Despite their essential contribution to the prevention of graft rejection, immunosuppressive drugs could have detrimental effects owing to their pro-inflammatory activities. Thus, we investigated the impact of different immunosuppressive drugs on the inflammatory response of neutrophils isolated from the blood of healthy volunteers. Under basal conditions, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors (sirolimus and everolimus) had the most potent anti-inflammatory effect, decreasing both IL-8 release (≈-80%) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) release (≈-65%) and preserving the release of the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA). In TNF-α-treated neutrophils, pre-incubation with everolimus provided the most potent effect, simultaneously reducing the release of both VEGF and IL-8 while doubling the release of IL-1RA. This latter effect of everolimus was maintained even when administered in combination with other immunosuppressive drugs. Sirolimus and everolimus decreased the tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α-induced adhesion of neutrophils to human endothelial cells and human extracellular matrix. This effect was largely dependent on the ability of these compounds to alter β2-integrin/CD18 activation. Our results suggest a potential mechanism for the beneficial effect of everolimus in the prevention of CAV in heart transplant recipients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • CD18 Antigens / metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Coronary Vessels / immunology*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Everolimus
  • Female
  • Heart Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Immunomodulation
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Interleukin 1 Receptor Antagonist Protein / metabolism
  • Interleukin-8 / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardium / pathology*
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / drug effects
  • Neutrophils / drug effects*
  • Neutrophils / immunology
  • Sirolimus / analogs & derivatives*
  • Sirolimus / therapeutic use
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • CD18 Antigens
  • IL1RN protein, human
  • Interleukin 1 Receptor Antagonist Protein
  • Interleukin-8
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Everolimus
  • Sirolimus