Belatacept and sirolimus prolong nonhuman primate renal allograft survival without a requirement for memory T cell depletion

D. J. Lo, D. J. Anderson, T. A. Weaver, F. Leopardi, M. Song, A. B. Farris, E. A. Strobert, J. Jenkins, N. A. Turgeon, A. K. Mehta, C. P. Larsen, A. D. Kirk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


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. This study demonstrates that a therapy combining belatacept and sirolimus effectively prevents acute renal allograft rejection in rhesus monkeys, and that when these agents are optimally dosed, the addition of alefacept induction promotes cytomegalovirus reactivation and fails to improve survival. See related article by Lowe et al (page 312).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-328
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Alefacept
  • belatacept
  • costimulation blockade


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