Successful immune tolerance induction by FVIII in hemophilia A patients with inhibitor may occur without deletion of FVIII-specific T cells


Marc Jacquemin, Centre for Molecular and Vascular Biology, Herestraat 49, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium.
Tel.: +32 16 345776; fax: +32 16 345990.


Summary. Background: The development of an inhibitor is the major complication facing patients with hemophilia A treated by administration of factor (F) VIII concentrates. Restoration of tolerance to FVIII can be achieved by prolonged administration of FVIII (immune tolerance induction, ITI). Although ITI has been used for more than 30 years in patients with hemophilia A and inhibitor, its mechanism of action is still poorly understood. Objectives: As administration of high doses of antigen can induce the apoptosis of the T cells recognizing the antigen, a potential mechanism of action of ITI may be the deletion of FVIII-specific T cells. Patients/Methods: We studied the CD4+ T-cell response to FVIII in five (one mild, one moderate and three severe) patients successfully desensitized by administration of FVIII and in control subjects. Results: Following repeated stimulation with autologous dendritic cells loaded with FVIII, FVIII-specific T oligoclonal cell lines were expanded from the blood of one of the successfully desensitized patients. The FVIII-specific T cells produced IL-5, IL-13 and IL-2. By contrast, FVIII-specific T-cell lines could not be derived from three patients with mild hemophilia A without inhibitor or from four normal control subjects. Conclusions: These data represent the first analysis of the cellular mechanisms regulating the induction of tolerance to FVIII. They demonstrate that successful tolerance induction may occur without deletion of FVIII-specific T cells.