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Knowing that several CD4 mAbs may delay allograft rejection in the absence of circulating CD4+ lymphocyte depletion in vivo, we investigated the mechanisms whereby CD4 mAbs can interfere with the development of alloreactive T cells in the mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR). In agreement with previous reports, CD4 mAbs of different species (mouse, rat, humanized), isotypes (IgG1, IgG2a, and IgG2b) and different epitope specificities decreased 3H-TdR incorporation in MLR, using monocyte-depleted or CD4+ T lymphocyte-enriched blood mononuclear cells as responders. Those effects were achieved at nonsaturating mAb concentration and were still demonstrable upon delayed addition of CD4 mAbs. However, CD4 mAbs decreased neither the number of blast cells nor the expression of CD25 (the alpha chain of IL-2 receptor), indicating that initial activation events leading to blast transformation were not affected. Determination of cytokine gene expression by non competitive quantitative RT-PCR and measurement of protein concentration in supernatants demonstrated that CD4 mAbs did not decrease IFN-gamma induced by alloactivation. However IL-2 concentration was decreased in all supernatants whereas IL-2 mRNA expression, only slightly decreased at 24 hr, and dropped after 72 hr. IL-5 and IL-10 mRNAs, equally expressed by stimulated or nonstimulated responder cells, were not affected by CD4 mAbs. IL-4 mRNA was not detectable. Furthermore, addition of rIL-2, rIFN-gamma or rIL-4 did not overcome proliferation inhibition. The data provide a novel insight into the mechanisms of CD4 mAbs immunosuppresssion that associates a decrease of IL-2 expression with an IL-2 resistant blockade of the progression of activated CD4+ T cells from the G1 to the S phases of the cell cycle.


Journal article



Publication Date





1136 - 1143


Antibodies, Monoclonal, CD4 Antigens, CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Cytokines, DNA Primers, G1 Phase, Gene Expression, Humans, Lymphocyte Activation, Lymphocyte Culture Test, Mixed, RNA, Messenger, Receptors, Interleukin-2, S Phase