Imatinib mesylate selectively impairs expansion of memory cytotoxic T cells without affecting the control of primary viral infections

Mumprecht, Sabine; Matter, Matthias; Pavelic, Viktor; Ochsenbein, Adrian F (2006). Imatinib mesylate selectively impairs expansion of memory cytotoxic T cells without affecting the control of primary viral infections. Blood, 108(10), pp. 3406-13. Washington, D.C.: American Society of Hematology 10.1182/blood-2006-04-018705

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Imatinib mesylate (imatinib) is a potent inhibitor of defined tyrosine kinases (TKs) and is effective in the treatment of malignancies characterized by constitutive activation of these TKs such as chronic myeloid leukemia and gastrointestinal stromal tumors. TKs also play an important role in T-cell receptor (TCR) signal transduction. Inhibitory as well as stimulating effects of imatinib on T cells and dendritic cells have been described. Here, we analyzed the effects of imatinib treatment on antiviral immune responses in vivo. Primary cytotoxic T-cell (CTL) responses were not impaired in imatinib-treated mice after infection with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) or after immunization with a tumor cell line expressing LCMV glycoprotein (LCMV-GP). Similarly, neutralizing antibody responses to vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) were not affected. In contrast, secondary expansion of LCMV-specific memory CTLs was reduced in vitro and in vivo, resulting in impaired protection against reinfection. In addition, imatinib treatment delayed the onset of diabetes in a CTL-induced diabetes model. In summary, imatinib treatment in vivo selectively inhibits the expansion of antigen-experienced memory CTLs without affecting primary T- or B-cell responses. Therefore, imatinib may be efficacious in the suppression of CTL-mediated immunopathology in autoimmune diseases without the risk of acquiring viral infections.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Haematology, Oncology, Infectious Diseases, Laboratory Medicine and Hospital Pharmacy (DOLS) > Clinic of Medical Oncology

UniBE Contributor:

Matter, Matthias and Ochsenbein, Adrian






American Society of Hematology




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:46

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:14

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URI: (FactScience: 1360)

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