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Abacavir Induced T Cell Reactivity from Drug Naïve Individuals Shares Features of Allo-Immune Responses

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2014
Author Adam Jacqueline, Wuillemin Natascha, Watkins Stephan, Jamin Heidi, Eriksson Klara K., Villiger Peter, Fontana Stefano, Pichler Werner J., Yerly Daniel,
Project Investigating the primary immune response against drugs in humans
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal PLoS ONE
Volume (Issue) 9(4)
Page(s) e95339 - e95339
Title of proceedings PLoS ONE
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0095339

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


Abacavir hypersensitivity is a severe hypersensitivity reaction which occurs exclusively in carriers of the HLA-B*57∶01 allele. In vitro culture of PBMC with abacavir results in the outgrowth of abacavir-reacting CD8+ T cells, which release IFNγ and are cytotoxic. How this immune response is induced and what is recognized by these T cells is still a matter of debate. We analyzed the conditions required to develop an abacavir-dependent T cell response in vitro. The abacavir reactivity was independent of co-stimulatory signals, as neither DC maturation nor release of inflammatory cytokines were observed upon abacavir exposure. Abacavir induced T cells arose in the absence of professional APC and stemmed from naïve and memory compartments. These features are reminiscent of allo-reactivity. Screening for allo-reactivity revealed that about 5% of generated T cell clones (n = 136) from three donors were allo-reactive exclusively to the related HLA-B*58∶01. The addition of peptides which can bind to the HLA-B*57∶01-abacavir complex and to HLA-B*58∶01 during the induction phase increased the proportion of HLA-B*58∶01 allo-reactive T cell clones from 5% to 42%. In conclusion, abacavir can alter the HLA-B*57∶01-peptide complex in a way that mimics an allo-allele (‘altered self-allele’) and create the potential for robust T cell responses.