Pharmacodynamic Analysis of Tofacitinib and Basiliximab in Kidney Allograft Recipients

Ramin Vafadari, Monique Quaedackers, MM Kho, WM Mol, G Chan, Willem Weimar, Carla Baan

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Background. The common gamma-chain (gamma(c)) cytokines signal through the Janus kinase (JAK)-signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) pathway and play pivotal roles in lymphocyte activation. We investigated the effect of immunosuppressive drugs targeting this pathway, the JAK inhibitor tofacitinib (CP-690,550) and the anti-interleukin (IL)-2R antibody basiliximab, as part of a phase 2 study. Methods. After whole-blood activation with the gamma(c) cytokines IL-2, IL-7, and IL-15, STAT5 phosphorylation was determined in T cells of de novo kidney transplantation patients treated with tofacitinib/basiliximab (n=5), calcineurin inhibitor (CNI) (cyclosporine A)/basiliximab (n=4) or CNI (tacrolimus)-based immunosuppression (n=6). The IC50 for phosphorylated STAT (P-STAT) 5 inhibition by tofacitinib was determined in cytokine-activated CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells from healthy individuals (n=4 Results. IC50 was 26, 72, and 37 ng/mL for IL-2, IL-7, and IL-15 activation, in CD4(+) T cells, respectively; and 35, 61, and 76 ng/mL for IL-2, IL-7, and IL-15 activation, in CD8(+) T cells, respectively. In kidney transplantation patients, 7 days after starting tofacitinib/basiliximab treatment, cytokine-induced P-STAT5 was inhibited in CD4(+) T cells (92% for IL-2 activation, 60% for IL-7, and 75% for IL-15), which persisted for the 2-month study period. In contrast, CNI/basiliximab treatment Conclusions. Tofacitinib therapy strongly inhibits gamma(c) cytokine-induced JAK/STAT5 activation, whereas basiliximab suppresses IL-2-stimulated activation only. Pharmacodynamic monitoring offers a unique tool to evaluate the biologic effects of immunosuppressive drugs.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)465-472
Number of pages8
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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