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Keywords:

  • Alefacept;
  • belatacept;
  • costimulation blockade

Belatacept is an inhibitor of CD28/B7 costimulation that is clinically indicated as a calcineurin inhibitor (CNI) alternative in combination with mycophenolate mofetil and steroids after renal transplantation. We sought to develop a clinically translatable, nonlymphocyte depleting, belatacept-based regimen that could obviate the need for both CNIs and steroids. Thus, based on murine data showing synergy between costimulation blockade and mTOR inhibition, we studied rhesus monkeys undergoing MHC-mismatched renal allotransplants treated with belatacept and the mTOR inhibitor, sirolimus. To extend prior work on costimulation blockade-resistant rejection, some animals also received CD2 blockade with alefacept (LFA3-Ig). Belatacept and sirolimus therapy successfully prevented rejection in all animals. Tolerance was not induced, as animals rejected after withdrawal of therapy. The regimen did not deplete T cells. Alefecept did not add a survival benefit to the optimized belatacept and sirolimus regimen, despite causing an intended depletion of memory T cells, and caused a marked reduction in regulatory T cells. Furthermore, alefacept-treated animals had a significantly increased incidence of CMV reactivation, suggesting that this combination overly compromised protective immunity. These data support belatacept and sirolimus as a clinically translatable, nondepleting, CNI-free, steroid-sparing immunomodulatory regimen that promotes sustained rejection-free allograft survival after renal transplantation.