Dexamethasone promotes durable factor VIII-specific tolerance in hemophilia A mice via thymic mechanisms
EHA Learning Center. Georgescu M. Aug 1, 2018; 226762
Topic: 6Ba Hemophilia A & B
Maria T Georgescu
Maria T Georgescu
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Co-Authors: Paul C. Moorehead, Alice S. van Velzen, Kate Nesbitt, Birgit M. Reipert, Katharina N. Steinitz, Maria Schuster, Christine Hough, David Lillicrap

Abstract: The development of inhibitory antibodies to factor VIII is the most serious complication of replacement therapy in hemophilia A. Activation of the innate immune system during exposure to this protein contributes to inhibitor development. However, avoidance of factor VIII exposure during innate immune system activation by external stimuli (e.g., vaccines) has not been consistently shown to prevent inhibitors. We hypothesized that dexamethasone, a drug with potent anti-inflammatory effects, could prevent inhibitors by promoting immunologic tolerance to factor VIII in hemophilia A mice. Transient dexamethasone treatment during ainitial factor VIII exposure reduced the incidence of anti-factor VIII immunoglobulin G in both a conventional hemophilia A mouse model (E16KO, 77% vs. 100%, P=0.048) and a hemophilia A mouse model with a humanized major histocompatibility complex type II transgene (E17KO/hMHC, 6% vs. 33%, P=0.0048). More importantly, among E17KO/hMHC mice that did not develop anti-factor VIII immunoglobulin G after initial exposure, dexamethasone-treated mice were less likely to develop a response after re-exposure six (7% vs. 52%, P=0.005) and 16 weeks later (7% vs. 50%, P=0.097). Similar results were obtained even when factor VIII re-exposure occurred in the context of lipopolysaccharide (30% vs. 100%, P=0.069). The ability of these mice to develop immunoglobulin G to human von Willebrand factor, a structurally unrelated antigen, remained unaffected by treatment. Transient dexamethasone administration therefore promotes antigen-specific immunologic tolerance to factor VIII. This effect is associated with an increase in the percentage of thymic regulatory T cells (12.06% vs. 4.73%, P<0.001) and changes in the thymic messenger ribonucleic acid transcription profile.

Article Number: 1403

Doi: 10.3324/haematol.2018.189852
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