Anergic T cells generated ex vivo are reported to have immunosuppressive effects in vitro and in vivo. Here, we tested this concept in nonhuman primates. Alloreactive T cells were rendered anergic ex vivo by coculture with donor alloantigen in the presence of anti-CD80/CD86 mAbs before adoptive transfer via renal allograft to rhesus monkey recipients. The recipients were briefly treated with cyclophosphamide and cyclosporine A during the preparation of the anergic cells. Thirteen days after renal transplantation, the anergic T cells were transferred to the recipient, after which no further immunosuppressive agents were administered. Rejection-free survival was prolonged in all treated recipients, and 3 of 6 animals survived long term (410–880 days at study’s end). In the long-surviving recipients, proliferative responses against alloantigen were inhibited in a donor-specific manner, and donor-type, but not third-party, skin allografts were also accepted, which demonstrated that antigen-specific tolerance had been induced. We conclude that anergic T cells generated ex vivo by blocking CD28/B7 costimulation can suppress renal allograft rejection after adoptive transfer in nonhuman primates. This strategy may be applicable to the design of safe clinical trials in humans.
Hisashi Bashuda, Masaaki Kimikawa, Kenichiro Seino, Yojiro Kato, Fumiko Ono, Akira Shimizu, Hideo Yagita, Satoshi Teraoka, Ko Okumura