Previous studies have shown that in vivo treatment with antiinterferon-gamma (anti-IFNgamma) monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) prevents the development of autoimmune diabetes in NOD mice. Although these findings anticipate that specific anti-IFNgamma therapies may be useful for the prevention/treatment of human insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, there are several reasons why the use of anti-IFNgamma mAb may be difficult in the clinical setting. With the aim to develop alternative forms of specific anti-IFNgamma therapies, we recently produced a nonimmunogenic form of the soluble IFNgamma receptor (sIFNgammaR) that binds and neutralizes murine IFNgamma with an affinity higher than that of anti-IFNgamma mAb. In this study we compared the efficacy of sIFNgammaR to that of two anti-IFNgamma mAbs (XMG 1.2 and AN-18) in the prevention of spontaneous and accelerated (cyclophosphamide-induced) forms of autoimmune diabetes in NOD mice. The results show that in the spontaneous model, sIFNgammaR could prevent histological and clinical signs of autoimmune diabetes as efficiently as the two mAbs. Under ex vivo conditions, sIFNgammaR exhibited a more powerful modulatory effect than XMG 1.2 mAb on cytokine secretion from splenic lymphoid cells, which resulted in a significant reduction of Concanavalin A-induced IL-2 secretion and an augmented release of both unstimulated and lipopolysaccharide-induced IL-6. Moreover, although both mAbs were immunogenic and elicited formation of high titers of anti-rat IgG, sIFNgammaR did not induce antibody formation. Unexpectedly, in the cyclophosphamide-induced model, sIFNgammaR turned out to be less effective than either of the two anti-IFNgamma mAbs. Taken together, these data support the role of IFNgamma in the pathogenesis of NOD mice, but, more importantly, suggest that a nonimmunogenic approach is possible to the diminution of the effects of IFNgamma in this model.
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