Interleukin-15 receptor blockade in non-human primate kidney transplantation.


BACKGROUND: Interleukin (IL)-15 is a chemotactic factor to T cells. It induces proliferation and promotes survival of activated T cells. IL-15 receptor blockade in mouse cardiac and islet allotransplant models has led to long-term engraftment and a regulatory T-cell environment. This study investigated the efficacy of IL-15 receptor blockade using Mut-IL-15/Fc in an outbred non-human primate model of renal allotransplantation. METHODS: Male cynomolgus macaque donor-recipient pairs were selected based on ABO typing, major histocompatibility complex class I typing, and carboxy-fluorescein diacetate succinimidyl ester-based mixed lymphocyte responses. Once animals were assigned to one of six treatment groups, they underwent renal transplantation and bilateral native nephrectomy. Serum creatinine level was monitored twice weekly and as indicated, and protocol biopsies were performed. Rejection was defined as a increase in serum creatinine to 1.5 mg/dL or higher and was confirmed histologically. Complete blood counts and flow cytometric analyses were performed periodically posttransplant; pharmacokinetic parameters of Mut-IL-15/Fc were assessed. RESULTS: Compared with control animals, Mut-IL-15/Fc-treated animals did not demonstrate increased graft survival despite adequate serum levels of Mut-IL-15/Fc. Flow cytometric analysis of white blood cell subgroups demonstrated a decrease in CD8 T-cell and natural killer cell numbers, although this did not reach statistical significance. Interestingly, two animals receiving Mut-IL-15/Fc developed infectious complications, but no infection was seen in control animals. Renal pathology varied widely. CONCLUSIONS: Peritransplant IL-15 receptor blockade does not prolong allograft survival in non-human primate renal transplantation; however, it reduces the number of CD8 T cells and natural killer cells in the peripheral blood.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Haustein, Silke, Jean Kwun, John Fechner, Ayhan Kayaoglu, Jean-Pierre Faure, Drew Roenneburg, Jose Torrealba, Stuart J Knechtle, et al. (2010). Interleukin-15 receptor blockade in non-human primate kidney transplantation. Transplantation, 89(8). pp. 937–944. 10.1097/TP.0b013e3181d05a58 Retrieved from

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



Jean Kwun

Associate Professor in Surgery

Research interests include humoral tolerance to organ transplants in animal model and humans, developing a clinically relevant animal model to study the mechanisms of antibody-mediated rejection (AMR), and establishing a conceptual basis that will translate into therapeutic intervention of AMR.


Stuart Johnston Knechtle

William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor

During my career as an academic surgeon, I have had the privilege of leading and/or participating in a diverse portfolio of hypothesis-driven research projects.  These projects have centered on the immunology of surgery and transplantation, including both cellular and antibody-mediated immune responses.  During my training I studied the response of hyper-sensitized recipients to allogeneic liver transplantation, and am currently studying means of reducing immunologic memory that might allow more successful transplantation in sensitized recipients.  This immune response involves pathways of coagulation, antibody-mediated rejection, and cellular rejection and current work in my lab involves these three pathways.  The other major focuses of my work have been co-stimulation blockade and immune cell depletion as approaches to immunologic unresponsiveness or tolerance.  My research group has been involved in translational and clinical research to develop these mechanistic tools for the benefit of human organ transplant recipients.

Recent Publications

Knechtle SJ, Shaw JM, Hering BJ, Kraemer K, Madsen JC. Translational impact of NIH-funded nonhuman primate research in transplantation. Sci Transl Med. 2019 Jul 10;11(500). pii: eaau0143. Reprint | Full Text

Unless otherwise indicated, scholarly articles published by Duke faculty members are made available here with a CC-BY-NC (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial) license, as enabled by the Duke Open Access Policy. If you wish to use the materials in ways not already permitted under CC-BY-NC, please consult the copyright owner. Other materials are made available here through the author’s grant of a non-exclusive license to make their work openly accessible.