Anti-CD4 antibody treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis: I. Effect on clinical course and circulating T cells

J Autoimmun. 1989 Oct;2(5):627-42. doi: 10.1016/s0896-8411(89)80002-2.


Eight patients with arthritis (seven with rheumatoid, one with psoriatic arthritis) were treated for 7 d with a daily injection of 10 mg of mouse monoclonal anti-CD4 antibodies (three with VIT4, five with MT151). With the exception of a short-lasting low-grade fever in one patient, no side effects were observed. Clinical symptoms (morning stiffness, number of swollen joints, pain assessment and Ritchie articular index) improved in all patients within 7 d of treatment. Improvement lasted from 3 weeks to greater than or equal to 5 months (mean approximately 11 weeks). Rheumatoid factors, immune complexes and other laboratory parameters did not change during or after treatment. Skin reactivity to recall antigens was suppressed in four out of six patients during treatment but returned to pretreatment levels within 6 weeks. Immunofluorescent analysis revealed a short-lasting drop of T cells, mainly of the CD4+ CDw29+ subset, but monocytes were also affected. The injected antibody was detectable on circulating cells for about 10 h. Within 20-24 h, the cell distribution returned to pretreatment levels. In six out of eight patients an anti-mouse-Ig response was seen. We conclude that mouse anti-CD4 monoclonal antibody (MoAb) treatment is well tolerated and that the cellular immunological changes observed are short-lasting. The low incidence of side effects may justify further clinical studies to evaluate the clinical efficacy of such treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic / biosynthesis
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / therapy*
  • Autoantibodies / analysis
  • Autoimmune Diseases / therapy*
  • CD4 Antigens / immunology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Lymphocyte Depletion*


  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Autoantibodies
  • CD4 Antigens