The human immune response to the OKT3 monoclonal antibody is oligoclonal

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Science  13 Jun 1986:
Vol. 232, Issue 4756, pp. 1406-1408
DOI: 10.1126/science.3086976


The availability of highly specific and homogeneous antibodies to human T cells by the hybridoma technique has elicited new interest in the clinical use of antibodies to lymphocytes as immunosuppressive agents. OKT3 is the murine monoclonal antibody that has been the most widely used in clinical transplantation to induce immunosuppression. This antibody recognizes a membrane molecular complex, exclusively present on mature human T lymphocytes, which is tightly linked to the T-cell antigen receptor. The long-term therapeutic use of murine monoclonal antibodies in vivo is hampered by the intense antibody response that occurs in most human patients. Thus, when administered alone, OKT3 manifests its immunosuppressive activity only during the 10 to 15 days that precede the onset of sensitization. The results presented here show, by use of isoelectrofocusing, that the antibody response to OKT3, already reported to be restricted in its specificity (only anti-isotypic and anti-idiotypic antibodies are produced), is in addition oligoclonal. This restriction of the anti-monoclonal response may suggest that an efficient way to circumvent the sensitization problem would be to administer consecutively different monoclonal antibodies presenting the same specificity but distinct idiotypes.