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Event: 984

Key Event Title

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Impairment, T-cell dependent antibody response

Short name
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Impairment, T-cell dependent antibody response
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Biological Context

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Level of Biological Organization

Key Event Components

The KE, as defined by a set structured ontology terms consisting of a biological process, object, and action with each term originating from one of 14 biological ontologies (Ives, et al., 2017; Biological process describes dynamics of the underlying biological system (e.g., receptor signalling).Biological process describes dynamics of the underlying biological system (e.g., receptor signaling).  The biological object is the subject of the perturbation (e.g., a specific biological receptor that is activated or inhibited). Action represents the direction of perturbation of this system (generally increased or decreased; e.g., ‘decreased’ in the case of a receptor that is inhibited to indicate a decrease in the signaling by that receptor).  Note that when editing Event Components, clicking an existing Event Component from the Suggestions menu will autopopulate these fields, along with their source ID and description.  To clear any fields before submitting the event component, use the 'Clear process,' 'Clear object,' or 'Clear action' buttons.  If a desired term does not exist, a new term request may be made via Term Requests.  Event components may not be edited; to edit an event component, remove the existing event component and create a new one using the terms that you wish to add.  Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf. More help
Process Object Action
Immunosuppression increased

Key Event Overview

AOPs Including This Key Event

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AOP Name Role of event in AOP Point of Contact Author Status OECD Status
Immunosuppression AdverseOutcome Cataia Ives (send email) Open for comment. Do not cite WPHA/WNT Endorsed

Taxonomic Applicability

Latin or common names of a species or broader taxonomic grouping (e.g., class, order, family) that help to define the biological applicability domain of the KE.In many cases, individual species identified in these structured fields will be those for which the strongest evidence used in constructing the AOP was available in relation to this KE. More help
Term Scientific Term Evidence Link
Homo sapiens Homo sapiens High NCBI
Mus musculus Mus musculus High NCBI
Rattus norvegicus Rattus norvegicus High NCBI
cynomolgus monkey Macaca fascicularis High NCBI

Life Stages

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Life stage Evidence
All life stages High

Sex Applicability

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Term Evidence
Unspecific High

Key Event Description

A description of the biological state being observed or measured, the biological compartment in which it is measured, and its general role in the biology should be provided. More help

Antibody production to T-cell–dependent antigens is established through the coordination of B cells, antigen-presenting cells as well as T-cell–derived cytokines, which stimulate B cells to proliferate and differentiate. T-cell–dependent antibody response (TDAR) might be altered if any of these cell populations is affected.

Interleukin (IL)-2 stimulates B cells to proliferate through surface IL-2 receptors. IL-4 stimulates B-cells to proliferate, to switch immunoglobulin classes, and to differentiate into plasma and memory cells. Suppressing the production of these B-cell–related cytokines appears to impaire TDAR, as seen in the result of FK506 treatment (Heidt et al, 2009).

IL-2 and IL-4 are produced and secreted by helper T cells and play important roles in the development of TDAR. IL-4 affects maturation and class switching of B cells as well as proliferation, both of which induces/enhances T cell dependent antibody production. IL-2 promotes differentiation of B cells through IL-2 stimulates differentiation of the activated T cell into T cell called Th2 cell. Therefore, suppressed production of IL-2 and IL-4 impairs TDAR (Alberts et al. 2008).

In male CD-1 mice, chronic psychosocial stress (types of social outcome occurred: residents becoming subordinates) decrease in anti- keyhole limpet hemocyanine (KLH) immunoglobulin (Ig)G. (Alessandro, B. et al. 2003).

In female B6C3F1 mice, 1,2:5,6-dibenzanthracene (DBA) exposure reduced total IgG antibody in spleen cell culture supernatants after in vitro stimulation with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) (Donna, C. et al. 2010).

Treatment with cyclosporin A (CsA) at 50 mg/kg BID via oral gavage in cynomolgus monkey resulted in reduction of serum sheep red blood cells (SRBC)-specific IgM and IgG (Kevin, G. et al. 2014).

After a 9-day culture of B cells and non-pre-activated T cell stimulation with FK506 or CsA, the levels of IgM and IgG in the culture supernatant were reduced at 0.3 and 1.0 ng/mL (0.37 and 1.24 nM) of FK506 or 50 and 100 ng/mL (41.6 and 83.2 nM) of CsA (Heidt et al, 2009).

After a 4-day culture of SKW6.4 cells (IL-6-dependent IgM-secreting human B-cell line) and anti-CD3/CD28 stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) culture supernatant with FK506 or CsA, the level of IgM in the culture supernatant was reduced at concentrations of 0.01 to 100 ng/mL (0.012 to 124 nM) of FK506 or 0.1 to 1000 ng/mL (0.083 to 83.2 nM) of CsA (Sakuma et al. 2001b).

Rats were treated with FK506 for over four weeks and immunized with KLH, after which serum concentration of anti-KLH IgM and IgG was reduced at the dose level of 3 mg/kg/day (Ulrich et al. 2004).

Mice were treated with FK506 or CsA for 4 days, and immunized with SRBC, after which antigen-specific plaque-forming splenocytes were reduced at dose levels of 3.2, 10, 32 and 100 mg/kg of FK506 or 32 and 100 mg/kg of CsA (Kino et al. 1987b).

As immunosuppression-derived adverse outcomes by calcineurin inhibition, FK506 and CsA increase the frequency and/or severity of infections and allergic reactions impaired TDAR deems to be one of the causative factors for these side effects . Some clinical trials of FK506 and CsA revealed these adverse effects as follows.

  • In clinical trials of renal transplantation using FK506 or CsA, opportunistic infections such as candida, cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex virus were reported (Ekberg et al. 2007).
  • In recipients of liver transplants treated with FK506 or CsA, opportunistic infections such as cytomegalovirus, hepatitis C virus, hepatitis B and herpes simplex virus were reported (Fung et al. 1991).
  • Cardiac transplant patients treated with cyclosporin developed pulmonary infections within the first year after surgery (Luster, M.I. et al. 1993).
  • In patients of X-linked autoimmune enteropathy treated with CsA or FK506, serum levels of IgE developed extremely high during the immunosuppressive therapy (Kawamura et al. 1997).
  • Renal transplant recipients treated with belatacepy/mycophenolate (MMF)/predonisone or FK506/MMF/prednisone showed significantly lower the geometric mean hemagglutination inhibition titer against influenza vaccine, hemagglutination-specific IgG and isotype IgG1 antibodies, and IgG-antibody secreting cells response (Gangappa et al. 2019).

How It Is Measured or Detected

A description of the type(s) of measurements that can be employed to evaluate the KE and the relative level of scientific confidence in those measurements.These can range from citation of specific validated test guidelines, citation of specific methods published in the peer reviewed literature, or outlines of a general protocol or approach (e.g., a protein may be measured by ELISA). Do not provide detailed protocols. More help

TDAR could be examined in vivo and in vitro.

In vivo studies of antigen-specific antibodies are usually performed by measuring serum antibody levels with Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay (ELISA) or with a plaque-forming cell (PFC) assay.

  • Rats were repeatedly administered FK506 orally for 4 weeks and immunized with KLH, after which the serum was examined for T-cell–dependent, antigen-specific, IgM and IgG levels using a Sandwich ELISA kit (Ulrich et al. 2004).
  • Mice were repeatedly administered calcineurin inhibitors (CNIs) including FK506 and CsA orally for 4 days and immunized with SRBC, after which spleen cells were examined using a PFC assay (Kino et al. 1987).
  • Cynomolgus monkeys received 50 mg/kg CsA twice a day via oral gavage (10 h apart) for 23 days and were immunized with SRBC, after which the serum was examined for Anti-SRBC IgM and IgG levels using an ELISA specific for SRBC antigen (Kevin, G. et al. 2014).
  • Mice were exposed a single pharyngeal aspiration of DBA, after which supernatants of splenocytes cultured for 24 h in the presence of LPS and assayed using a mouse IgM or IgG matched pairs antibody kit (Bethyl Laboratories, Montgomery, TX) (Donna, C. et al. 2010).

For in vitro studies, total IgM and IgG levels in culture supernatant are often measured after polyclonal T-cell activation rather than measuring antigen stimulation in immune cell cultures.

  • T cells and B cells isolated from human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were co-cultured with a CNIs for nine days in the presence of polyclonal–T-cell stimulation, after which supernatants were tested for immunoglobulin IgM and IgG levels using a Sandwich ELISA kit. Treatment with FK506 or CsA reduced the levels of IgM and IgG at the concentrations of 0.3 and 1.0 ng/mL or 50 and 100 ng/mL (Heidt et al, 2009).
  • SKW6.4 cells (IL-6-dependent IgM-secreting human B-cell line) were cultured with anti-CD3/CD28 antibody-stimulated PBMC culture supernatant. After culturing for four days, IgM produced in the culture supernatants was measured using an ELISA kit. FK506 or CsA reduced the levels of IgM at the concentrations of 0.01 to 100 ng/mL or 0.1 to 1000 ng/mL (Sakuma et al. 2001b).
  • In order to examine class switching, T cells derived from human PBMCs were cultured with CNIs, and cytokine mRNA levels of Interferon-gamma, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-10, IL-13, and other B-cell–stimulatory cytokines produced in T cells were measured by quantitative PCR (Dumont et al. 1998).

Domain of Applicability

A description of the scientific basis for the indicated domains of applicability and the WoE calls (if provided).  More help

CNIs induced impairment of TDAR is demonstrated with rodent studies. That is, oral administration of FK506 or CsA to mice for 4 days impaired the response of PFC in splenocytes after intravenous immunization with sheep erythrocytes (Kino et al. 1987). Likewise, oral administration of FK506 to rats over a four-week period reduced production of both anti-KLH-IgG and IgM antibodies after subcutaneous immunization with KLH (Ulrich et al. 2004). Moreover, Treatment with CsA at 50 mg/kg BID via oral gavage in cynomolgus monkey resulted in reduction of serum SRBC-specific IgM and IgG (Kevin, G. et al. 2014). As for humans, in vitro experiments showed that treatment with FK506 or CsA of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from blood-bank donors suppressed the production of IgM and IgG antibodies specific to T-cell–dependent antigens. (Heidt et al, 2009) Also, in SKW6.4 cells (IL-6–dependent, IgM-secreting, human B-cell line) cultures, FK506 or CsA suppressed the production of IgM antibodies in the presence of T-cell activation. (Sakuma et al. 2001b)  Considering that FKF506 and CsA reduce T cell-derived cytokines including IL-2 and IL-4, these findings strongly suggest that impairment of TDAR following reduced production of such cytokines occurs at least in common among humans monkey and rodents.

Regulatory Significance of the Adverse Outcome

An AO is a specialised KE that represents the end (an adverse outcome of regulatory significance) of an AOP. More help

The ICH S8 guideline, which covers immunosuppression of small molecule drugs, determines the need for immunotoxicity studies by comprehensively evaluating the findings of pharmacology, changes in the immune system in repeated-dose toxicity studies, and other factors using a Weight of Evidence approach. If there is concern about immunotoxicity, the presence or absence of immunotoxicity should be determined using an in vivo test system capable of assessing the functional changes of predicted immunotoxic target cells. If immunotoxicity is observed, additional studies including in vitro assays or clinical evaluation should be considered to assess the risk of immunotoxicity in humans. Because TDAR involves many immune cell populations, including T cells, B cells, and antigen-presenting cells, evaluation of TDAR is recommended when there is concern about immunotoxicity but the immunotoxic target cells are unclear. The S8 guidelines list KLH, SRBC, and tetanus toxin as antigens for TDAR.

The draft FDA immunotoxicity testing guidance (2020) covers immunosuppressive and immunostimulatory drugs and biologics; evaluating immunosuppressive drugs in the draft FDA guidance is similar to that in the S8 guideline, with in vivo TDAR assays recommended when toxic target cells are unknown. The draft guidance states that TDAR assays using KLH as an antigen have been established in mice, rats, dogs, minipigs, and cynomolgus monkeys, but the use of SRBC and tetanus toxin as antigens is also acceptable.

For the assessment for pesticides, US EPA OPPTS 870.7800 immunotoxicity testing guideline recommends TDAR using SRBC. The REACH guideline does not provide for immunotoxicity testing, but it provides triggers for conducting immunotoxicity testing.

The WHO/IPSS Immunotoxicity Risk assessment Guidance (2012) describes a strategy for assessing five categories of immunotoxicity risks, including immunosuppression. For risk assessment of immunosuppression, it calls for identification of immunosuppression risks, prediction of pathogenesis that may occur, and consideration of safety margins based on the WoE approach from human findings, infection resistance tests, immune function tests, general immune system assays, histopathological findings and organ weights in general toxicity studies, and hematological data.

The evaluation of immunotoxicity in F1 animals in the OECD Guidelines for Extended First Generation Reproductive and Developmental Toxicity Studies (TG443) requires that PFC and ELSA assays to measure primary IgM antibody production by TDAR using T-cell dependent antigens (SRBC, KLH, etc.) be performed. Furthermore, if changes are observed, the significance of the changes should be examined by comprehensively evaluating other data.

The outcomes of immunosuppression are susceptibility to infection and tumorigenesis, and the FDA guidance requires that immunosuppressive drugs be evaluated for carcinogenic risk using WoE approach based on the results of carcinogenicity and immunotoxicity studies. Meanwhile, the ICH S1B(R1) Draft Step 2 Guidelines for Carcinogenicity Testing calls for evaluation of carcinogenicity by WoE approach instead of rat carcinogenicity testing, because rodent carcinogenicity test models are less capable of detecting carcinogenicity. On the other hand, it is difficult to define susceptibility to infection as a measurable AO with a clear mechanism, because immune responses vary among pathogens. In fact, many immunotoxicity guidelines require that the risk of immunotoxicity be identified and assessed by evaluating immune functions.

In AOP154, it was difficult to define susceptibility to infection as an AO for the AOP154, so TDAR, which is recommended as an indicator of immunosuppresoin in many guidelines, was used as an AO. It is expected that several AOPs with TDARs as AOs will be developed, and based on these AOPs, it may be possible to develop an IATA to assess the risk of immunotoxicity characterized by TDARs.


List of the literature that was cited for this KE description. More help
  1. Alberts, B., Johnson, A., Lewis, L., Raff, M., Roberts, K. and Walter, P. (2008). Molecular Biology of the Cell. 5th ed., Garland Science, New York. 1539-1601
  2. Heidt, S., Roelen, D. L., Eijsink, C., Eikmans, M., van Kooten, C., Claas, F. H. and Mulder, A. (2010). Calcineurin inhibitors affect B cell antibody responses indirectly by interfering with T cell help. Clinical and experimental immunology. 159(2): 199-207.
  3. Sakuma, S., Kato, Y., Nishigaki, F., Magari, K., Miyata, S., Ohkubo, Y., and Goto, T. (2001b). Effects of FK506 and other immunosuppressive anti-rheumatic agents on T cell activation mediated IL-6 and IgM production in vitro. International Immunopharmacology 1(4): 749-57.
  4. Kino, T., Hatanaka, H., Hashimoto, M., Nishiyama, M., Goto, T., Okuhara, M., Kohsaka, M., Aoki, H. and Imanaka, H. (1987). FK-506, a novel immunosuppressant isolated from a Streptomyces. I. Fermentation, isolation, and physico-chemical and biological characteristics. Journal of antibiotics. 40(9): 1249-1255.
  5. Ulrich, P., Paul, G., Perentes, E., Mahl, A., and Roman D. (2004). Validation of immune function testing during a 4-week oral toxicity study with FK506. Toxicology Letters 149(1-3): 123-31.
  6. Dumont, F.J., Staruch, M.J., Fischer, P., DaSilva, C. and Camacho, R. (1998). Inhibition of T cell activation by pharmacologic disruption of the MEK1/ERK MAP kinase or calcineurin signaling pathways results in differential modulation of cytokine production. Journal of immunology 160 (6): 2579-89.
  7. Ekberg, H., Tedesco-Silva, H., Demirbas, A., Vítko, S., Nashan, B., Gürkan, A., Margreiter, R., Hugo, C., Grinyó, J.M., Frei, U., Vanrenterghem, Y., Daloze, P. and Halloran, P.F.; ELITE-Symphony Study. (2007). Reduced exposure to calcineurin inhibitors in renal transplantation. The New England journal of medicine 357 (25): 2562-75.
  8. Fung, J., Abu-Elmagd, K., Jain, A., Gordon, R., Tzakis, A., Todo, S., Takaya, S., Alessiani, M., Demetris, A., Bronster, O., Martin, M., Mieles, L., Selby, R., Reyes, J., Doyle, H., Stieber, A., Casavilla, A. and Starzl, T. (1991). A randomized trial of primary liver transplantation under immunosuppression with FK 506 vs cyclosporine. Transplantation proceedings 23 (6): 2977-83.
  9. Luster, M.I., and Rosenthal, G.J. (1993). Environmental Health Perspectives. 100: 219-36.
  10. Alessandro B, Paola S, Alberto E. Paneraic, Tiziana P,Paola Palanzaa and Stefano P(2003). Chronic psychosocial stress-induced down-regulation of immunity depends upon individual factors Journal of Neuroimmunology 141: 58–64
  11. Donna C. S, Matthew J. S and Kimber L. W Jr. (2010) Systemic immunosuppression following a single pharyngeal aspiration of 1,2:5,6-dibenzanthracene in female B6C3F1 mice, Journal of Immunotoxicology, 7:3, 219-231
  12. Kevin G, Hossein S, Raju S, Valerie A, Anna K, Ming Z, Fen-Fen L, Hung Q. N, Lei Z, John K. S, Min W and Helen J. M(2015) Inhibition of CRAC with a human anti-ORAI1 monoclonal antibody inhibits T-cell-derived cytokine production but fails to inhibit a T-cell-dependent antibody response in the cynomolgus monkey, Journal of Immunotoxicology, 12:2, 164-173,
  13. Gangappa S, Wrammert J, Wang D, Li ZN, Liepkalns JS, Cao W, Chen J, Levine MZ, Stevens J, Sambhara S, Begley B, Mehta A, Pearson TC, Ahmed R, Larsen CP. (2019) Kinetics of antibody response to influenza vaccination in renal transplant recipients. Transpl Immunol. 53:51-60.
  14. Kawamura N, Furuta H, Tame A, Kobayashi I, Ariga T, Okano M, Sakiyama Y. (1997) Extremely high serum level of IgE during immunosuppressive therapy: paradoxical effect of cyclosporine A and tacrolimus. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 112(4):422-4.