Positive effect on T-cell regulatory apoptosis by mycophenolate mofetil

M. Nakamura, N. Ogawa, A. Shalabi, W. R. Maley, J. F. Burdick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The regulatory benefit of apoptosis (activation-induced cell death, AICD) in T cells may be impacted by immunosuppressive agents. We examined this for mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) compared with cyclosporine (CYA). Peripheral blood leukocytes (PBL) were stimulated by either Staph enterotoxin B (SEB) or by anti-CD3 plus anti-CD28. Cell division analysis (sequential reduction in carboxyflourescein diacetate succinimidyl ester, CFSE) was used to measure proliferation and determine status of different cell generations. Apoptosis was measured by annexin V staining, and FasL expression by anti-FasL antibody staining, of activated cells using flow cytometry. CSA and mycophenolic acid (MPA, the active agent of MMF) were added in titration in 3-day cultures. We found that CSA caused diminution in apoptosis but MPA increased it with SEB stimulation. The CSA effect on apoptosis was present when a more calcineurin-dependent stimulus, anti-CD3 + anti-CD28, was used but the MPA effect was less, producing a decrease only in the undivided cells. To look more directly at the differential effect on calcineurin-dependent AICD gene induction of the two agents, we measured Fas-L expression with anti-CD-3 + CD28 stimulation, and confirmed that CYA caused a major decrement in appearance of Fas-L, whereas MPA caused a converse accumulation of it. This seems to be explained by the block more distal in cell activation, resulting in a build-up of a precursor in the activation pathways. We conclude that MMF treatment may be rationale as an adjunct to calcineurin inhibitor treatment because of its converse effect on T cell regulatory apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-40
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Transplantation
Issue numberSUPPL. 6
StatePublished - 2001


  • Activation-induced cell death
  • Annexin V
  • Apoptosis
  • Cyclosporine
  • Fas-L
  • Mycophenolate mofetil
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation

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