Emergence of CD52-, glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchor-deficient lymphocytes in rheumatoid arthritis patients following Campath-1H treatment

Int Immunol. 1996 Mar;8(3):325-34. doi: 10.1093/intimm/8.3.325.


CD52 is a glycosylphosphatidyl-inositol (GPI)-linked glycoprotein expressed at high levels on normal T and B lymphocytes and at lower levels on monocytes, while being absent on granulocytes and bone marrow stem cell precursors. The emergence of CD52- lymphocytes of both T and B cell lineages was observed in three out of 25 rheumatoid arthritis patients treated with teh humanized antibody Campath-1H in phase II clinical trial. Whereas the majority of CD52- B cells had disappeared from the peripheral blood by 3 months post-treatment, both CD52- CD4+ and CD8+ T cells persisted in the circulation for at least 20 months. In the two patients that were tested, the GPI-anchored surface molecules CD55 and CD59 were also absent on the CD52- cells, although expression of other cell surface transmembrane, proteins (CD3, CD4 and CD2) was unaffected. The CD52- cells maintained a stable phenotype in vitro despite repeated re-stimulation in culture. Both CD52- and C52+ clones, established from one of the patients, responded to a similar extent to several T cell mitogens, as assessed by proliferation, suggesting that a general defect in expression of GPI-linked molecules does not impair T cell activation. These data show that an immune attack against a GPI-anchored surface molecule can result in the selection of a GPI-anchor-deficient cell population. Despite the persistence of CD52- T cells in the peripheral blood, no adverse reactions associated with the presence of these cells were noted in any of the patients; in fact they responded with longer remission times after Campath-1H treatment than the other patients in the trial.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alemtuzumab
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm / pharmacology*
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm / therapeutic use
  • Antigens, CD / biosynthesis*
  • Antigens, Neoplasm*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / chemistry
  • CD52 Antigen
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / chemistry
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Glycoproteins*
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • Lymphocytes / chemistry*
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Time Factors


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm
  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • CD52 Antigen
  • CD52 protein, human
  • Glycoproteins
  • Alemtuzumab