Transplantation is the preferred mode of therapy for many forms of end-stage organ disease. Success in transplantation has been built upon therapeutic approaches to control the T cell-dependent process of rejection. Thus, a unifying goal of tolerance induction strategies is to selectively inactivate or delete donor- reactive T cells. Transient blockade of the CD28/B7 and CD154/CD40 pathways has shown great promise in tolerance protocols in na?ve recipients, particularly those that induce mixed hematopoietic chimerism and robust donor-specific tolerance. Unfortunately, the anti-CD154 mAbs that are a cornerstone of this approach cause platelet dysfunction and thromboembolism. In addition, the presence of donor-specific memory T cells as a result of heterologous immunity present a potent barrier to transplantation tolerance. Thus, these two factors present challenges that must be met if costimulation blockade to induce transplantation tolerance is to become a clinical reality. Despite years of interest in these pathways, our knowledge of the mechanisms by which CD28 and CD154 blockade synergize to promote the deletion of na?ve donor-reactive T cells remains very incomplete. By extending our knowledge of this process, we may identify new opportunities to program na?ve donor-specific T cells to execute a death program rather than an expansion and differentiation path that leads to rejection. While there has been considerable progress in defining the multiple mechanisms by which CD40 transduces signals, at present we have little insight into which of the CD40-associated adaptor molecules and signaling pathways must be interrupted to promote deletion of na?ve donor-reactive T cells. Furthermore, it is now well-established that memory T cells are less susceptible to the effects of CD28 and CD40 blockade. Thus, the immune history of a transplant recipient and levels of donor-cross-reactive memory T cells within the various compartments (CD4+ or CD8+ TEM or TCM) may dictate the likelihood of success or failure of attempts at tolerance induction or even immunosuppression. By understanding the functions, costimulatory and signaling requirements for recall responses mediated by the various memory T cell subsets, we may be able to tailor tolerance induction approaches to control the predominant forms of memory for specific donor- recipient combinations. Lay Summary: Transplantation represents a cure for many terminal diseases. However, transplant recipients require lifelong immunosuppression to prevent immunological rejection of the allograft. The goal of this grant proposal is to understand the signals that immune cells (T cells) require to reject transplants. With this knowledge, we will design methods to control these cells to develop methods of inducing long- lasting transplant acceptance without the need for toxic immunosuppressive regimens. PROJECT NARRATIVE Long-term graft survival rates in clinical transplantation have changed little during the last decade despite dramatic reductions in acute rejection rates, motivating the transplant community to develop tolerance induction strategies that broadly improve long-term net health outcomes. Given the central role of T cells in transplant rejection, a unifying goal of tolerance induction strategies is to selectively inactivate or delete donor-reactive T cells. Mechanistic studies proposed here will delineate the determinants of T cell fate in transplant tolerance.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Transplantation, Tolerance, and Tumor Immunology (TTT)
Program Officer
Kehn, Patricia J
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Emory University
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Ford, Mandy L; Adams, Andrew B; Pearson, Thomas C (2014) Targeting co-stimulatory pathways: transplantation and autoimmunity. Nat Rev Nephrol 10:14-24
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