It is well known that CTLA4Ig inhibits allogenic T-cell activation in transplantation. The immunological features and mechanisms associated with alloantibody suppression by CTLA4Ig, however, are poorly understood. Here, we used a mouse model of allosensitization to evaluate the efficacy of CTLA4Ig (abatacept) in suppression of donor-specific antibody (DSA) during de novo and recall alloantibody responses. We found that abatacept inhibited de novo DSA IgM and IgG responses to HLA-A2 expressing skin grafts. Abatacept administered during primary T cell priming also reduced recall IgG responses induced by re-immunization. Suppression of de novo DSA responses by abatacept is associated with a reduction in splenic expression of the germinal center activation marker GL7 and a reduction of CD4(+)PD1(+)CXCR5(+) follicular T helper (Tfh) subset in splenic lymphocytes detected by flow cytometry. The efficacy of abatacept on recall DSA suppression is moderate. In vitro experiments demonstrated that abatacept inhibited DSA IgG secretion by CD138(+) plasma cells isolated from allograft recipients. Additional experiments using an IgG1 secreting mouse hybridoma cell line showed that abatacept binds to CD80 expressed on these cells with subsequent inhibition of cell proliferation and reduction in IgG ELISpot formation. In conclusion, CTLA4Ig is a potent suppressor of de novo DSA responses and also affects recall responses. The data suggests modification of recall DSA responses is due to a direct suppressive effect on plasma cells.
Keywords: B cell; CTLA4Ig; Donor specific antibody; HLA-sensitization; Mouse; Plasma cell.
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