Anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody induction therapy. Immunological equivalency with triple-drug therapy in heart transplantation

M. L. Barr, J. A. Sanchez, L. A. Seche, L. L. Schulman, C. R. Smith, E. A. Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


This study examines the hypothesis that induction immunosuppressive therapy with murine anti-CD3 monoclonal antibodies (OKT3) reduces the frequency of rejection episodes in heart transplant recipients receiving 3-drug maintenance therapy with cyclosporine, azathioprine, and steroids. A group of 26 adult heart transplant recipients requiring preoperative intravenous inotropic drugs or with elevated serum creatinine received OKT3 induction as well as long-term triple drug therapy. Cyclosporine was withheld for the first 4 postoperative days allowing for resolution of cardiogenic renal dysfunction. A corresponding group of 26 heart transplant recipients received triple drug therapy alone started immediately before transplantation. Both groups were comparable in age, sex distribution, and follow-up period. The frequency of rejection episodes was identical for the two groups (0.003 episodes per patient month). Time to first rejection episode in the induction group, however, was delayed twofold as compared with the noninduction group (42 versus 21 days, p < 0.01). Actuarial survival at 6, 12, and 18 months was 88%, 81% and 81% for the induction group and 92%, 92%, and 87% for the noninduction group (p = NS). Treatment for rejection was not required in 35% of the induction group and 38% of the noninduction group (p = NS). OKT3 provides satisfactory immunosuppression in heart transplant recipients with hemodynamic or renal compromise, yet it does not reduce the frequency of rejection episodes compared with patients receiving triple drug therapy alone. Although the time to first rejection may be delayed, routine adjuvant use of OKT3 for induction in all heart transplant recipients may incur needless expense without providing an important immunological advantage as compared with triple drug immunosuppression alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)IV-291-IV-294
Issue number5 SUPPL.
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Heart transplantation
  • Immunosuppression
  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Rejection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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