Journal Article
. 2019 Jul; 68(8):1359-1368.
doi: 10.1007/s00262-019-02369-x.

CTLA-4 antibody ipilimumab negatively affects CD4+ T-cell responses in vitro

Sandra Rosskopf 1 Judith Leitner 1 Gerhard J Zlabinger 2 Peter Steinberger 3 
Affiliations
  • PMID: 31332464
  •     43 References
  •     6 citations

Abstract

Immune checkpoint inhibitors targeting coinhibitory pathways in T cells possess efficacy in combating cancer. In addition to PD-1/PD-L1 and CTLA-4 antibodies which are already established in tumor immunotherapy, immune checkpoints such as LAG-3 or BTLA are emerging, which may have the potential to enhance T-cell responses alone or in combination with PD-1 blockers. CD4+ T cells play a central role in the immune system and contribute to productive immune responses in multiple ways. The effects of immune checkpoint inhibitors on this cell subset may thus critically influence therapeutic outcomes. Here, we have used in vitro responses to tetanus toxoid (TT) as a model system to study the effects of immune checkpoint inhibitors on CD4+ T-cell responses. CFSE-labeled PBMCs of 65 donors were stimulated with TT in the presence of blocking antibodies to PD-L1, CTLA-4, LAG-3, or BTLA for 7 days. We found that the PD-L1 antibody greatly enhanced cytokine production and antigen-specific CD4+ T-cell proliferation, whereas blocking antibodies to BTLA or LAG-3 did not augment responses to TT. Surprisingly, the presence of the therapeutic CTLA-4 antibody ipilimumab resulted in a significant reduction of CD4+ T-cell proliferation and cytokine production. Stimulation experiments with an IgG4 variant of ipilimumab indicated that the inhibitory effect of ipilimumab was dependent on its IgG1 isotype. Our results indicate that the therapeutic CTLA-4 antibody ipilimumab can impair CD4+ effector T-cell responses and that this activity is mediated by its Fc part and CD16-expressing cells.

Keywords: CTLA-4; Coinhibitory pathways; Immune checkpoints; Ipilimumab; Tetanus toxoid.

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