Abatacept (CTLA-4IG) treatment reduces the migratory capacity of monocytes in patients with rheumatoid arthritis




The binding of abatacept (CTLA-4Ig) to the B7 ligands CD80 and CD86 prevents the engagement of CD28 on T cells and thereby prevents effector T cell activation. In addition, a direct effect of CTLA-4Ig on antigen-presenting cells (APCs) could contribute to the therapeutic effect. To further elucidate the mechanism of CTLA-4Ig, we performed phenotype and functional analyses of APCs in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) before and after the initiation of CTLA-4Ig therapy.


Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were analyzed before and at 2 and 4 weeks after the initiation of CTLA-4Ig therapy. Proportions of APCs were determined by flow cytometry. CD14+ monocytes were further analyzed for the expression of costimulatory and adhesion molecules and for their transendothelial migratory capacity in vitro. In addition, CD14+ monocytes from healthy controls were analyzed for their migratory and spreading capacity.


Proportions and absolute numbers of monocytes were significantly increased in RA patients treated with CTLA-4Ig. The expression of several adhesion molecules was significantly diminished. In addition, monocytes displayed a significant reduction in their endothelial adhesion and transendothelial migratory capacity upon treatment with CTLA-4Ig. Likewise, isolated monocytes from healthy controls revealed a significant reduction in their migratory and spreading activity after preincubation with CTLA-4Ig or anti-CD80 and anti-CD86 antibodies.


We describe direct effects of CTLA-4Ig therapy on phenotype and functional characteristics of monocytes in RA patients that might interfere with the migration of monocytes to the synovial tissue. This additional mechanism of CTLA-4Ig might contribute to the beneficial effects of CTLA-4Ig treatment in RA patients.