Mtor inhibitor everolimus in regulatory t cell expansion for clinical application in transplantation

Roberto Gedaly, Felice De Stefano, Lilia Turcios, Marita Hill, Giovanna Hidalgo, Mihail I. Mitov, Michael C. Alstott, D. Allan Butterfield, Hunter C. Mitchell, Jeremy Hart, Ahmad Al-Attar, Chester D. Jennings, Francesc Marti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background. Experimental and preclinical evidence suggest that adoptive transfer of regulatory T (Treg) cells could be an appropriate therapeutic strategy to induce tolerance and improve graft survival in transplanted patients. The University of Kentucky Transplant Service Line is developing a novel phase I/II clinical trial with ex vivo expanded autologous Treg cells as an adoptive cellular therapy in renal transplant recipients who are using everolimus (EVR)-based immunosuppressive regimen. Methods. The aim of this study was to determine the mechanisms of action and efficacy of EVR for the development of functionally competent Treg cell-based adoptive immunotherapy in transplantation to integrate a common EVR-based regimen in vivo (in the patient) and ex vivo (in the expansion of autologous Treg cells). CD25+ Treg cells were selected from leukapheresis product with a GMP-compliant cell separation system and placed in 5-day (short) or 21-day (long) culture with EVR or rapamycin (RAPA). Multi-parametric flow cytometry analyses were used to monitor the expansion rates, phenotype, autophagic flux, and suppressor function of the cells. phosphoinositide 3-kinase/protein kinase B/mammalian target of rapamycin signaling pathway profiles of treated cells were analyzed by Western blot and cell bioenergetic parameters by extracellular flux analysis. Results. EVR-treated cells showed temporary slower growth, lower metabolic rates, and reduced phosphorylation of protein kinase B compared with RAPA-treated cells. In spite of these differences, the expansion rates, phenotype, and suppressor function of long-term Treg cells in culture with EVR were similar to those with RAPA. Conclusions. Our results support the feasibility of EVR to expand functionally competent Treg cells for their clinical use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)705-715
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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