Engagement of the B7 family of molecules on antigen-presenting cells with their T cell-associated ligands, CD28 and CD 152 (cytotoxic T lymphocyteassociated antigen-4 [CTLA-4]), provides a pivotal costimulatory signal in T-cell activation. We investigated the role of the CD28/CD152 pathway in psoriasis in a 26-week, phase I, open-label dose-escalation study. The importance of this pathway in the generation of humoral immune responses to T cell-dependent neoantigens, bacteriophage πX174 and keyhole limpet hemocyanin, was also evaluated. Forty-three patients with stable psoriasis vulgaris received 4 infusions of the soluble chimeric protein CTLA4Ig (BMS- 188667). Forty-six percent of all study patients achieved a 50% or greater sustained improvement in clinical disease activity, with progressively greater effects observed in the highest-dosing cohorts. Improvement in these patients was associated with quantitative reduction in epidermal hyperplasia, which correlated with quantitative reduction in skin-infiltrating T cells. No markedly increased rate of intralesional T-cell apoptosis was identified, suggesting that the decreased number of lesional T cells was probably likely attributable to an inhibition ofT-cell proliferation, T-cell recruitment, and/or apoptosis of antigen-specific T cells at extralesional sites. Altered antibody responses to T cell-dependent neoantigens were observed, but immunologic tolerance to these antigens was not demonstrated. This study illustrates the importance of the CD28/CD152 pathway in the pathogenesis of psoriasis and suggests a potential therapeutic use for this novel immunomodulatory approach in an array oft cell-mediated diseases.
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