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Keywords:

  • Biomarkers;
  • costimulation blockade;
  • mixed chimerism;
  • nonhuman primate

In murine models, T-cell costimulation blockade of the CD28:B7 and CD154:CD40 pathways synergistically promotes immune tolerance after transplantation. While CD28 blockade has been successfully translated to the clinic, translation of blockade of the CD154:CD40 pathway has been less successful, in large part due to thromboembolic complications associated with anti-CD154 antibodies. Translation of CD40 blockade has also been slow, in part due to the fact that synergy between CD40 blockade and CD28 blockade had not yet been demonstrated in either primate models or humans. Here we show that a novel, nondepleting CD40 monoclonal antibody, 3A8, can combine with combined CTLA4Ig and sirolimus in a well-established primate bone marrow chimerism-induction model. Prolonged engraftment required the presence of all three agents during maintenance therapy, and resulted in graft acceptance for the duration of immunosuppressive treatment, with rejection resulting upon immunosuppression withdrawal. Flow cytometric analysis revealed that upregulation of CD95 expression on both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells correlated with rejection, suggesting that CD95 may be a robust biomarker of graft loss. These results are the first to demonstrate prolonged chimerism in primates treated with CD28/mTOR blockade and nondepletional CD40 blockade, and support further investigation of combined costimulation blockade targeting the CD28 and CD40 pathways.