Author(s): Polito L, Bortolotti M, Farini V, Pedrazzi M, Tazzari PL,
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Abstract Anti-thymocyte globulins (ATG) are currently used to prevent graft-versus-host disease in haematopoietic stem cell transplants from alternative donors and to treat and prevent acute organ rejection after transplantation. Many recent studies have demonstrated that ATG can also be beneficial in patients with myeloma, lymphoma, leukaemia and myelodysplastic syndrome. This study showed, for the first time, that the cytotoxic effect of ATG can been enhanced by conjugation with saporin-S6, which is one of the most stable and active type-1 ribosome-inactivating proteins. The ATG-saporin-S6 immunotoxin showed a strong cytotoxic effect on five lymphoma- and leukaemia-derived cell lines as well as on activated lymphocytes while sparing non-haematological cell lines. ATG-saporin-S6 induced a time-dependent activation of caspase-3/7 in RAJI cells. The caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-fmk partially rescued the cells that were treated with ATG-saporin-S6, suggesting that multiple cell death pathways, some of which are caspase independent, play a role in ATG-saporin-S6 toxicity. In our experiments ATG increased the complement-independent cytotoxicity of activated lymphocytes by a magnitude of 3-5 logs after conjugation. These findings suggest that the ATG-saporin-S6 immunotoxin is a promising therapeutic tool for many pathological conditions involving T lymphocytes and T and B neoplastic cells.
This article was published in Br J Haematol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pharmacology