We explored the hypothesis that CD2 antigen-specific therapy would reduce intragraft gene expression and facilitate the emergence of transplantation tolerance. This postulate was tested in a murine pancreatic islet cell allograft model in which a novel mAb directed at the CD2 antigen, RM2-2 anti-CD2 mAb (RM2-2 mAb), was used to regulate CD2 antigen-dependent antiallograft response. Peritransplant administration (day -1, 0, and day +1 with respect to transplantation) of RM2-2 mAb resulted in significantly longer survival of DBA/2 pancreatic islet cell allografts in the B6AF1 recipient compared with untreated recipients. RM2-2 mAb therapy facilitated the induction of antigen-specific tolerance: whereas retransplantation with the original donor strain (DBA/2) islet ceil allograft was successful, retransplantation with a third.party donor (SJL) islet cell allograft was not. In vivo administration of RM2-2 mAb therapy resulted in a decrease in the percentage of T cells that coexpressed the CD2 antigen (demonstrated by two-color flow cytometry) and in a decrease in intragraft expression of cytotoxic cell specific granzyme B mRNA and IL-10 mRNA (detected by RT-PCR). Our data, in addition to demonstrating for the first time the efficacy of RM2-2 anti-CD2 mAb, suggest that CD2 antigen is a suitable target for the induction of transplantation tolerance.
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