The effects of rapamycin on humoral immunity in vivo. Suppression of primary responses but not of ongoing alloantibody synthesis or memory responses

D J Propper, J Woo, A M Macleod, G R Catto, A W Thomson

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10 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of rapamycin on primary and secondary alloantibody responses to major histocompatibility complex class I antigens was investigated in inbred rat strains. Primary anti-MHC class I alloantibody responses, detected by indirect hemagglutination and complement-dependent cytotoxicity assays, were abrogated in high-responder WAG (RT1u) recipients of DA (RT1a) blood transfusions, given on days 0 and 7 of a 14-day course of rapamycin (3 mg/kg/day). Antibody class studies showed that both IgM and IgG responses were equally effectively inhibited. Moreover, when these animals were rechallenged with DA transfusions, 28 days after drug withdrawal, they exhibited donor-specific humoral unresponsiveness. Similar results were observed in cyclosporine-treated rats. In preimmunized high-responder LEW (RT1(1)) rats with high titer anti-DA class I alloantibodies, a 35-day course of rapamycin (3 mg/kg/day) had no significant suppressive effect on serum alloantibody levels when compared with untreated preimmunized control animals. WAG rats were immunized by DA transfusions and serum antibody levels then allowed to decay over 16 weeks. The animals were then challenged with a further DA transfusion given on the second day of a 14-day course of rapamycin (3 mg/kg/day). Alloantibody responses to the challenge transfusion in this group were not, however, significantly suppressed when compared with a non-drug-treated control group. The results of this study indicate that rapamycin is a potent inhibitor of primary alloantibody synthesis in high-responder rat strains, but does not significantly suppress alloantibody synthesis in animals with established humoral reactivity. These results may be of relevance if rapamycin is to be used in clinical renal transplantation, because in man similar antibodies mediate hyperacute rejection, and when they develop after transplantation are associated with very high rates of rejection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1058-63
Number of pages6
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1992


  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation
  • Blood Transfusion
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Isoantibodies
  • Polyenes
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Lew
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Sirolimus


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