Development of a Sensitive Phospho-p70 S6 Kinase ELISA to Quantify mTOR Proliferation Signal Inhibition

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Background:Drug blood levels can only serve as a surrogate because of the lack of information on the drug's direct pharmacological effects in the individual patient. Measurement of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) activity dependent on the phosphorylation status of p70 S6 kinase (p70 S6K) offers a practical way for monitoring pharmacodynamic drug activity, with the potential to better assess the state of immunosuppression in individual patients.Material and Methods:Here, we established a novel in vitro model system by treating Jurkat cells and peripheral blood mononuclear cells with different concentrations of sirolimus after stimulation with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate.Results:A dose-dependent reduction of the p70 S6K phosphorylation status was demonstrated by Western blot and a newly established enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Relative phospho-p70 S6K values from ELISA and relative densities from Western blot analysis in peripheral blood mononuclear cells revealed a strong correlation (Spearman correlation coefficient rs = 0.7, P = 0.01). Finally, parallel assays confirmed a sirolimus dose-dependent reduction of cytokine production and cell proliferation in the in vitro model.Conclusions:Pharmacodynamic monitoring of mTOR inhibition with a p70 S6K ELISA could guide mTOR inhibitor immunosuppression therapy toward a more individualized therapy. The usage of this technique now has to be evaluated in a clinical series of patients.

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