FTY720 is a potent immunomodulator with unique effects on lymphocyte homing and has recently proved to be safe and effective in renal transplantation in man. The authors investigated the potency of FTY720 in inhibiting allograft rejection in the rat model of orthotopic allogeneic penetrating keratoplasty.Methods:
Penetrating keratoplasties were performed using Fisher rats as donors and Lewis rats as recipients or donors: group 1 (n = 10), allogeneic control; group 2 (n = 10), Lewis/Lewis syngeneic control; group 3 (n = 9), mycophenolate mofetile (MMF) 40 mg/kg; group 4 (n = 10), FTY720 1.2 mg/kg; group 5 (n = 8), FTY720 0.3 mg/kg. Four animals from each group were sacrificed for immunohistological evaluation on day 14. Medication in the therapy groups was given for 18 days.Results:
The mean (SD) rejection free graft survival time was 11.3 (0.8) days for the allogeneic control (group 1), 24.6 (2.5) days for group 3 (MMF), 44.5 (5.7) days for group 4 (FTY720 1.2 mg/kg), and 35.3 (5.7) days for group 5 (FTY720 0.3 mg/kg) (p<0.05). The allogeneic control showed a dense infiltration with CD4+, CD8+, CD161+ (NK-cells), CD25+ (IL2 receptor), and macrophages. In the therapy groups the density of infiltrating CD4+, CD8+, CD161+ (NK-cells), and CD25+ (IL2 receptor) cells was notably reduced compared with the allogeneic control (p<0.05). In group 5 however, the reduction of infiltration by CD4+ cells was higher than the reduction of infiltration by CD8+ (p<0.05) and CD161+ (NK) cells.Discussion:
Oral immunosuppression with FTY720 significantly prolongs corneal allograft survival in this transplant model. The results suggest that FTY720 has a different effect on certain lymphocyte populations. CD4+ cells seem to be more affected than CD8+ cells and NK-cells.