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In contrast to calcineurin inhibitors, sirolimus is known to exert remarkable tolerance-promoting properties in multiple animal transplant models. Whether sirolimus is capable of enhancing tolerance-related pathways and/or promoting complete withdrawal of immunosuppressive drugs in human transplant recipients has not been previously addressed. The goal of the investigators study is to evaluate the effects of sirolimus on previously identified tolerogenic pathways in humans and, indirectly, to assess the capacity of this drug to enhance the proportion of liver recipients undergoing successful immunosuppression weaning.
Objective:To test in liver transplant recipients identified as non-tolerant whether discontinuation of calcineurin inhibitors followed by 6-month treatment with sirolimus modifies the pattern of expression of the set of genes associated with tolerance
Background: Sirolimus is an immunosuppressive drug used to counter autoimmunity and to prevent acute graft rejection in human and has remarkable tolerance-promoting properties in animal transplant models.
Hypothesis/Specific Aims:We hypothesize that sirolimus promotes tolerogenic pathways in human liver transplantation.
1. To test in liver transplant recipients identified as non-tolerant whether discontinuation of calcineurin inhibitors followed by 6-month treatment with sirolimus modifies the pattern of expression of the set of genes associated with tolerance
2. To test in liver transplant recipients identified as non-tolerant whether conversion from calcineurin inhibitors to sirolimus modifies memory type immune responses.
3. To test in liver transplant recipients identified as non-tolerant whether conversion from calcineurin inhibitor monotherapy to sirolimus affects the frequency, phenotype and function of potentially immunoregulatory peripheral blood lymphocyte subsets
4. To test in liver transplant recipients identified as non-tolerant whether conversion from calcineurin inhibitors to sirolimus promotes epigenetic changes related to immunoregulation and cancer development/progression
Proposed Methods:Gene expression experiments: we will quantify the expression in peripheral blood of a set of genes previously identified as predictive of successful immunosuppression withdrawal in stable liver transplant recipients. Blood samples will be obtained before and 6 months after conversion to sirolimus treatment. Measurement of gene expression levels will be conducted employing real-time TaqMan PCR. Classification of patients in the tolerant/non-tolerant categories will be conducted utilizing thresholds and predictive algorithms developed in our laboratory.
Immunophenotyping studies: we will quantify in peripheral blood various mononuclear cell subsets implicated in immunoregulatory pathways before and 6 months after conversion to sirolimus treatment. Measurements will be conducted employing flow cytometry.
Functional assays: we will isolate CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells (Treg) from peripheral blood by Sorter before and 6 months after conversion to sirolimus treatment. Serial dilution experiments will be conduct in an antigen non-specific assay to assess the relative suppressive properties of Tregs. IFNg ELISpot assays will be conducted in parallel employing peripheral blood mononuclear cells as responder cells to measure donor-specific alloimmune responses.
Measurement of DNA-methylation: recipient DNA will be extracted from peripheral blood samples before and after 6-month sirolimus treatment and used to conduct whole-genome methylation studies employing the ILLUMINA array platform.
Expected results: We expect to precisely define the effects of sirolimus on previously identified tolerogenic pathways in humans and, to assess the capacity of this drug to enhance the proportion of liver recipients undergoing successful immunosuppression weaning.
Allocation: Randomized, Control: Active Control, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment
Sirolimus, Calcineurin inhibitor
Hospital Clinic Barcelona, University of Barcelona
Hospital Clinic of Barcelona
Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:17:12-0400
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A CALCIUM and CALMODULIN-dependent serine/threonine protein phosphatase that is composed of the calcineurin A catalytic subunit and the calcineurin B regulatory subunit. Calcineurin has been shown to dephosphorylate a number of phosphoproteins including HISTONES; MYOSIN LIGHT CHAIN; and the regulatory subunits of CAMP-DEPENDENT PROTEIN KINASES. It is involved in the regulation of signal transduction and is the target of an important class of immunophilin-immunosuppressive drug complexes.
Compounds that inhibit or block the PHOSPHATASE activity of CALCINEURIN.
Final stage of a liver disease when the liver failure is irreversible and LIVER TRANSPLANTATION is needed.
The transference of a part of or an entire liver from one human or animal to another.
Conditions in which the LIVER functions fall below the normal ranges. Severe hepatic insufficiency may cause LIVER FAILURE or DEATH. Treatment may include LIVER TRANSPLANTATION.
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