Effect of DAB389IL-2 immunotoxin on the course of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in Lewis rats
Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental
Activated T cells express the high affinity interleukin 2 receptor (IL-2R also CD25) that binds interleukin 2 (IL-2) and transduces signals important for the proliferation and survival of these cells. We investigated the effect of the genetically engineered immunotoxin DAB(389)IL-2 on experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (CNS) mediated by activated myelin-reactive T cells. EAE is the most commonly used animal model of the human disease multiple sclerosis (MS). DAB(389)IL-2 is a recombinant fusion product made of a portion of diphtheria toxin, which contains binding and translocation components of the toxin linked to IL-2. The diphtheria toxin targets and kills cells expressing the high affinity IL-2 receptor and has been successfully used in several autoimmune and neoplastic conditions. We observed a significant suppression of guinea-pig spinal cord homogenate (gpSCH)-MBP induced active EAE in Lewis rats at 2 x 1,600 kU of DAB(389)IL-2 given on days 7 and 9 post-immunization and complete suppression with the same dose on days 7, 8 and 9 or 7, 8, 9 and 10 after immunization during the active disease period. There were reduced mononuclear cell infiltrates of CD4(+), CD8(+), CD25(+) and alphabetaTCR(+) T cells in the spinal cord of treated rats. However, treatment at day 11 or 12 post-immunization led to severe, fatal disease. The toxin added to cultures in vitro or injected in vivo suppressed antigen- and mitogen-induced T cell proliferation. DAB(389)IL-2 treatment in vivo or exposure of encephalitogenic T cells in vitro prior to transfer did have a significant inhibitory effect on adoptive transfer EAE. Our data demonstrate that DAB(389)IL-2 immunotoxin can suppress active and passive EAE if applied at specific, early time points, but can have negative consequences at later time points.