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Relationship: 1510


The title of the KER should clearly define the two KEs being considered and the sequential relationship between them (i.e., which is upstream and which is downstream). Consequently all KER titles take the form “upstream KE leads to downstream KE”.  More help

Suppression, IL-2 and IL-4 production leads to Impairment, T-cell dependent antibody response

Upstream event
Upstream event in the Key Event Relationship. On the KER page, clicking on the Event name under Upstream Relationship will bring the user to that individual KE page. More help
Downstream event
Downstream event in the Key Event Relationship. On the KER page, clicking on the Event name under Upstream Relationship will bring the user to that individual KE page. More help

Key Event Relationship Overview

The utility of AOPs for regulatory application is defined, to a large extent, by the confidence and precision with which they facilitate extrapolation of data measured at low levels of biological organisation to predicted outcomes at higher levels of organisation and the extent to which they can link biological effect measurements to their specific causes. Within the AOP framework, the predictive relationships that facilitate extrapolation are represented by the KERs. Consequently, the overall WoE for an AOP is a reflection in part, of the level of confidence in the underlying series of KERs it encompasses. Therefore, describing the KERs in an AOP involves assembling and organising the types of information and evidence that defines the scientific basis for inferring the probable change in, or state of, a downstream KE from the known or measured state of an upstream KE. More help

AOPs Referencing Relationship

This table is automatically generated upon addition of a KER to an AOP. All of the AOPs that are linked to this KER will automatically be listed in this subsection. Clicking on the name of the AOP in the table will bring you to the individual page for that AOP. More help
AOP Name Adjacency Weight of Evidence Quantitative Understanding Point of Contact Author Status OECD Status
Inhibition of Calcineurin Activity Leading to Impaired T-Cell Dependent Antibody Response adjacent High High Takumi Ohishi (send email) Open for comment. Do not cite EAGMST Under Review

Taxonomic Applicability

Select one or more structured terms that help to define the biological applicability domain of the KER. In general, this will be dictated by the more restrictive of the two KEs being linked together by the KER. Authors can indicate the relevant taxa for this KER in this subsection. The process is similar to what is described for KEs (see pages 30-31 and 37-38 of User Handbook) More help
Term Scientific Term Evidence Link
Homo sapiens Homo sapiens High NCBI
Mus musculus Mus musculus High NCBI
cynomolgus monkey Macaca fascicularis High NCBI

Sex Applicability

Authors can indicate the relevant sex for this KER in this subsection. The process is similar to what is described for KEs (see pages 31-32 of the User Handbook). More help
Sex Evidence
Unspecific High

Life Stage Applicability

Authors can indicate the relevant life stage for this KER in this subsection. The process is similar to what is described for KEs (see pages 31-32 of User Handbook). More help
Term Evidence
All life stages High

Key Event Relationship Description

Provide a brief, descriptive summation of the KER. While the title itself is fairly descriptive, this section can provide details that aren’t inherent in the description of the KEs themselves (see page 39 of the User Handbook). This description section can be viewed as providing the increased specificity in the nature of upstream perturbation (KEupstream) that leads to a particular downstream perturbation (KEdownstream), while allowing the KE descriptions to remain generalised so they can be linked to different AOPs. The description is also intended to provide a concise overview for readers who may want a brief summation, without needing to read through the detailed support for the relationship (covered below). Careful attention should be taken to avoid reference to other KEs that are not part of this KER, other KERs or other AOPs. This will ensure that the KER is modular and can be used by other AOPs. More help

Interleukin (IL)-2 and IL-4 are produced and secreted by helper T cells and play important roles in the development of T-cell dependent antibody response (TDAR), both of which induces/enhances T cell dependent antibody production. IL-4 affects maturation and class switching of B cells as well as proliferation, IL-2 promotes differentiation of B cells through IL-2 receptors and stimulates the activated T cell into T cell called Th2 cell. Therefore, suppressed production of IL-2 and IL-4 impairs T cell dependent antibody production (Alberts et al. 2008).

T cells, B cells, and antigen-presenting cells such as dendritic cells are involved in inducing and developing of TDAR. Thus, changes in any of these immune cell populations can influence TDAR

T cell-derived cytokines play important roles in the development of TDAR. Among them, IL-2 promotes proliferation of B cells, and IL-4 affects maturation and class switching of B cells as well as proliferation, both of which induces/enhances T cell dependent antibody production.

Thus, suppressing the production of IL-2, IL-4, and other cytokines in T cells reduces stimulation of B cells including proliferation, activation, and class switching, and leading to impairment of TDAR. Therefore, suppressing the production of these B-cell-related cytokines appears to be the main factor in impairment of TDAR by inhibitors of T-cell–dependent-antibody production.

Evidence Supporting this KER

Assembly and description of the scientific evidence supporting KERs in an AOP is an important step in the AOP development process that sets the stage for overall assessment of the AOP (see pages 49-56 of the User Handbook). To do this, biological plausibility, empirical support, and the current quantitative understanding of the KER are evaluated with regard to the predictive relationships/associations between defined pairs of KEs as a basis for considering WoE (page 55 of User Handbook). In addition, uncertainties and inconsistencies are considered. More help
Biological Plausibility
Define, in free text, the biological rationale for a connection between KEupstream and KEdownstream. What are the structural or functional relationships between the KEs? For example, there is a functional relationship between an enzyme’s activity and the product of a reaction it catalyses. Supporting references should be included. However, it is recognised that there may be cases where the biological relationship between two KEs is very well established, to the extent that it is widely accepted and consistently supported by so much literature that it is unnecessary and impractical to cite the relevant primary literature. Citation of review articles or other secondary sources, like text books, may be reasonable in such cases. The primary intent is to provide scientifically credible support for the structural and/or functional relationship between the pair of KEs if one is known. The description of biological plausibility can also incorporate additional mechanistic details that help inform the relationship between KEs, this is useful when it is not practical/pragmatic to represent these details as separate KEs due to the difficulty or relative infrequency with which it is likely to be measured (see page 40 of the User Handbook for further information).   More help

Cyclosporin A (CsA) is known one of the calcineurin inhibitiors. CsA-treatment is reported to suppresses the productions of IL-2 and IL-4 and result in the reduction of the productions of antigen-specific IgM and IgG in cynomolgus monkeys (Gaida K. 2015).

It is established that IL-2 stimulates B cells to proliferate through the surface IL-2 receptors and that IL-4 stimulates B cells to proliferate, to induce class switch, and to differentiate into plasma and memory cells.

Dupilumab is known as anti-IL-4/13 receptor (IL-4/13R) antibody. Dupilumab (Dupixent) reduces productions of immunoglobulin (Ig) E and antigen specific IgG1 in mice (Sanofi K.K. 2018). It suggests that the blocking of IL-4 signaling by anti-IL-4/13R antibody results in the decrease in T cell dependent antibody production.

Th2 cell produces cytokines including IL-4. Suplatast tosilate (IPD) is known as an inhibitor of the production of IL-4 and IL-5 from Th2 cells and reduces the production of antigen specific IgE in human cell culture and mice (Taiho Pharmaceutical 2013). These findings suggests that the reduction of IL-4 production by the inhibitor of Th2 cell cytokines results in reduced production of IgE and/or IgG1 through inhibitions of maturation, proliferation and class switching of B cells.

IL-2 binds to IL-2 receptor (IL-2R) and acts on T cell. CD25 is one of IL-2R. Basiliximab (Simulect) is known as anti-CD25 antibody. Basiliximab binds to IL-2R and blocks IL-2 signaling. Clinical transplantation study of basiliximab reveals decreases in rejections. On the other hand, basiliximab inhibits the activation of antigen specific T cells (Novartis Pharma 2016). They suggest that the blocking of IL-2 signaling by anti-IL-2R antibody results in decreased rejection through the inhibition of the activation of antigen specific T cell with reduced antibody production.

FK506 and CsA suppress mRNA expression levels of cytokines in T cells including IL-2 and IL-4 that stimulate proliferation of B cells as well as B cell activation and class switching (Heidt et al, 2010).

Several in vivo studies in rodents showed decreased TDAR by the treatment of FK506 (Kino et al. 1987b, Ulrich et al. 2004). In in vitro tests examining antibody production in blood samples obtained from blood-bank donors, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) treated with FK506 and CsA suppressed the production of IgM and IgG antibodies to T-cell dependent antigens (Heidt et al, 2009).

T cells, B cells, and antigen-presenting cells such as dendritic cells are involved in inducing and developing of TDAR. Thus, changes in any of these immune cell populations can influence TDAR.

However, as for the suppression of humoral immunity induced by the inhibition of calcineurin (CN) phosphatase activity, calcineurin inhibitors (CNIs) do not affect B cells directly but rather indirectly through T cells. That is, FK506 and CsA are capable of inhibiting immunoglobulin production when B cells are cultured with non-pre-activated T cells, but FK506 and CsA fail to inhibit immunoglobulin levels when pre-activated T cells are used to stimulate B cells. Hence, the inhibition of B cell response by FK506 and CsA appears due solely to inhibition of T helper cells (Heidt et al, 2010).

Therefore, it is concluded that decreased amounts of IL-2 and IL-4 secreted from helper T cells is the main factor for suppression of TDAR induced by CN phosphatase inhibition.

Uncertainties and Inconsistencies
In addition to outlining the evidence supporting a particular linkage, it is also important to identify inconsistencies or uncertainties in the relationship. Additionally, while there are expected patterns of concordance that support a causal linkage between the KEs in the pair, it is also helpful to identify experimental details that may explain apparent deviations from the expected patterns of concordance. Identification of uncertainties and inconsistencies contribute to evaluation of the overall WoE supporting the AOPs that contain a given KER and to the identification of research gaps that warrant investigation (seep pages 41-42 of the User Handbook).Given that AOPs are intended to support regulatory applications, AOP developers should focus on those inconsistencies or gaps that would have a direct bearing or impact on the confidence in the KER and its use as a basis for inference or extrapolation in a regulatory setting. Uncertainties that may be of academic interest but would have little impact on regulatory application don’t need to be described. In general, this section details evidence that may raise questions regarding the overall validity and predictive utility of the KER (including consideration of both biological plausibility and empirical support). It also contributes along with several other elements to the overall evaluation of the WoE for the KER (see Section 4 of the User Handbook).  More help

IL-2 affects multiple populations of immune cells expressing IL-2 receptors, while IL-4 mainly acts on B cells. Therefore, reduced production of both IL-2 and IL-4 might certainly induce suppression of TDAR; however, there remains some possibility of additional suppression of other immune functions.

Response-response Relationship
This subsection should be used to define sources of data that define the response-response relationships between the KEs. In particular, information regarding the general form of the relationship (e.g., linear, exponential, sigmoidal, threshold, etc.) should be captured if possible. If there are specific mathematical functions or computational models relevant to the KER in question that have been defined, those should also be cited and/or described where possible, along with information concerning the approximate range of certainty with which the state of the KEdownstream can be predicted based on the measured state of the KEupstream (i.e., can it be predicted within a factor of two, or within three orders of magnitude?). For example, a regression equation may reasonably describe the response-response relationship between the two KERs, but that relationship may have only been validated/tested in a single species under steady state exposure conditions. Those types of details would be useful to capture.  More help

Cynomolgus monkeys treated wth CsA at 50 mg/kg BID showed suppression of IL-2 and IL-4 production and inhibition of SRBC-specific IgM and IgG in TDAR (Gaida K. 2015).

In the blocking of IL-4 receptor in mice by dupilumab (anti-IL-4/13R antibody) at 25 mg/kg of twice weekly subcutaneous administration for 4weeks, IgE production was suppressed to about 1/100 and antigen specific IgG1 production was suppressed to about 1/200 (Sanofi K.K. 2018).

In the inhibition of IL-4 production in mice by suplatast tosilate at 10, 20, 50 and 100 mg/kg of oral administration for 5 days, antigen specific IgE production was suppressed from about 1/10 to 1/100 (Taiho Pharmaceutical 2013). In human T cell culture by suplatast tosilate at the concentration of 10 μg/mL, antigen specific IgE production after 10 days was suppressed from 56 to 72% and IL-4 production after 3 days was suppressed from 58 to 76% (Taiho Pharmaceutical 2013).

As for IL-2 and antibody production, in vitro T-cell-induced polyclonal B cell activation to produce antibody was inhibited with anti-IL-2 and anti-IL-2R antibodies. That is, murine small resting B cells, cultured with irradiated hapten-specific TH1 clone, were induced to enter cell cycle at 2 days and to secret antibody at 5 days. An anti-IL-2 and anti-IL-2R antibodies completely inhibited this T-cell dependent antibody production (Owens T, 1991).

In the human T-B cell co-culture stimulated with anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody, CNIs of FK506 and CsA lowered the m-RNA levels of T-cell cytokines at 8h post-stimulation including IL-2 and IL-4 at 1.0ng/mL (1.24nM) FK506 or 100ng/mL (90.7nM) CsA and inhibited IgM and IgG productions after 9 days at 0.3 and 1.0ng/mL FK506 and 50 and 100ng/mL CsA (Heidt S. 2010).

This sub-section should be used to provide information regarding the approximate time-scale of the changes in KEdownstream relative to changes in KEupstream (i.e., do effects on KEdownstream lag those on KEupstream by seconds, minutes, hours, or days?). This can be useful information both in terms of modelling the KER, as well as for analyzing the critical or dominant paths through an AOP network (e.g., identification of an AO that could kill an organism in a matter of hours will generally be of higher priority than other potential AOs that take weeks or months to develop). Identification of time-scale can also aid the assessment of temporal concordance. For example, for a KER that operates on a time-scale of days, measurement of both KEs after just hours of exposure in a short-term experiment could lead to incorrect conclusions regarding dose-response or temporal concordance if the time-scale of the upstream to downstream transition was not considered. More help

In CsA-treatment for 24 days at 50 mg/kg BID, cynomolgus monkeys showed suppression of IL-2 and IL-4 production and inhibition of SRBC-specific IgM and IgG in TDAR (Gaida K. 2015).

In human T cell culture, suplatast tosilate inhibits IL-4 production after 3 days and antigen specific IgE production after 10 days (Taiho Pharmaceutical 2013).

In the human T-B cell co-culture, CNIs of FK506 and CsA lowered the m-RNA levels of IL-2 and IL-4 at 8h post-stimulation and inhibited IgM and IgG productions after 9 days (Heidt S. 2010).

Known modulating factors
This sub-section presents information regarding modulating factors/variables known to alter the shape of the response-response function that describes the quantitative relationship between the two KEs (for example, an iodine deficient diet causes a significant increase in the slope of the relationship; a particular genotype doubles the sensitivity of KEdownstream to changes in KEupstream). Information on these known modulating factors should be listed in this subsection, along with relevant information regarding the manner in which the modulating factor can be expected to alter the relationship (if known). Note, this section should focus on those modulating factors for which solid evidence supported by relevant data and literature is available. It should NOT list all possible/plausible modulating factors. In this regard, it is useful to bear in mind that many risk assessments conducted through conventional apical guideline testing-based approaches generally consider few if any modulating factors. More help

At present, no evidence is found.

Known Feedforward/Feedback loops influencing this KER
This subsection should define whether there are known positive or negative feedback mechanisms involved and what is understood about their time-course and homeostatic limits? In some cases where feedback processes are measurable and causally linked to the outcome, they should be represented as KEs. However, in most cases these features are expected to predominantly influence the shape of the response-response, time-course, behaviours between selected KEs. For example, if a feedback loop acts as compensatory mechanism that aims to restore homeostasis following initial perturbation of a KE, the feedback loop will directly shape the response-response relationship between the KERs. Given interest in formally identifying these positive or negative feedback, it is recommended that a graphical annotation (page 44) indicating a positive or negative feedback loop is involved in a particular upstream to downstream KE transition (KER) be added to the graphical representation, and that details be provided in this subsection of the KER description (see pages 44-45 of the User Handbook).  More help

At present, no evidence is found.

Domain of Applicability

As for the KEs, there is also a free-text section of the KER description that the developer can use to explain his/her rationale for the structured terms selected with regard to taxonomic, life stage, or sex applicability, or provide a more generalizable or nuanced description of the applicability domain than may be feasible using standardized terms. More help

In cynomolgus monkeys, the effects of CsA on production of IL-2 and IL-4, and antigen-specific IgM and IgG in TDAR were demonstrated (Gaida K. 2015).

Suppressed IgE and antigen specific IgG1 productions by the blocking of IL-4 receptor were reported in mice using dupilumab (anti-IL-4/13R antibody) (Sanofi K.K. 2018).

Suppressed antigen specific IgE production by the inhibition of IL-4 production was reported in mice using suplatast tosilate (Taiho Pharmaceutical 2013).

Suppressed antigen specific IgE and IL-4 productions by the inhibition of IL-4 production were reported in human cell culture using suplatast tosilate(Taiho Pharmaceutical 2013).

The effects of FK506 on serum concentration of anti-KLH antibodies IgM and IgG have been demonstrated in rats treated with FK506 for over four weeks and immunized with KLH (Ulrich et al. 2004). The effects of FK506 and CsA on antigen-specific plaque-forming splenocytes have been demonstrated in mice treated with FK506 or CsA for 4 days and immunized with SRBC (Kino et al. 1987b).

The effects of FK506 and CsA on the levels of IgM and IgG in the culture supernatant have been demonstrated in human cells (Heidt et al, 2009, Sakuma et al, 2001).

The effects of FK506 and CsA on production of IL-2 and IL-4 have been demonstrated using mice and human cells (Kino et al. 1987a, Dumont et al. 1998).

These facts suggest that there are no species differences between humans, monkeys and rodents in inhibitions of IL-2 and IL-4 production and TDAR induction.


List of the literature that was cited for this KER description using the appropriate format. Ideally, the list of references should conform, to the extent possible, with the OECD Style Guide (OECD, 2015). More help
  1. Alberts, B., Johnson, A., Lewis, L., Raff, M., Roberts, K. and Walter, P. (2008). Molecular Biology of the Cell. 5th ed., Garland Science, New York. 1539-1601
  2. Sanofi K.K. (2018) Drug interview form Dupixent subcutaneous injection 300 mg syringe. 2nd edition.
  3. Taiho Pharmaceutical Co.,Ltd. (2013) Drug interview form IPD capsule 50 and 100. Revised 5th edition.
  4. Novartis Pharma K.K. (2016). Drug interview form Simulect i.v. injection 20 mg. 10th edition.
  5. Dumont, F.J., Staruch, M.J., Fischer, P., DaSilva, C. and Camacho, R. (1998). Inhibition of T cell activation by pharmacologic disruption of the MEK1/ERK MAP kinase or calcineurin signaling pathways results in differential modulation of cytokine production. Journal of immunology 160 (6): 2579-89.
  6. Heidt, S., Roelen, D. L., Eijsink, C., Eikmans, M., van Kooten, C., Claas, F. H. and Mulder, A. (2010). Calcineurin inhibitors affect B cell antibody responses indirectly by interfering with T cell help. Clinical and experimental immunology. 159(2): 199-207.
  7. Gaida K., Salimi-Moosavi H., Subramanian R., Almon V., Knize A., Zhang M., Lin F.F., Nguyen H.Q., Zhou L., Sullivan J.K., Wong M., McBride H.J. (2015). Inhibition of CRAC with a human anti-ORAI1 monoclonal antibody inhibits T-cell-derived cytokine production but fails to inhibit a T-cell-dependent antibody response in the cynomolgus monkey. J Immunotoxicol 12:164-173.
  8. Kino, T., Hatanaka, H., Miyata, S., Inamura, N., Nishiyama, M., Yajima, T., Goto, T., Okuhara, M., Kohsaka, M. and Aoki, H. (1987a). FK-506, a novel immunosuppressant isolated from a Streptomyces. II. Immunosuppressive effect of FK-506 in vitro. Journal of antibiotics. 40(9): 1256-1265.
  9. Kino, T., Hatanaka, H., Hashimoto, M., Nishiyama, M., Goto, T., Okuhara, M., Kohsaka, M., Aoki, H. and Imanaka, H. (1987b). FK-506, a novel immunosuppressant isolated from a Streptomyces. I. Fermentation, isolation, and physico-chemical and biological characteristics. Journal of antibiotics. 40(9): 1249-1255.
  10. Owens T.(1991). Requirement for noncognate interaction with T cells for the activation of B cell  immunoglobulin secretion by IL-2. Cell Immunol 133:352-366.
  11. Sakuma, S., Kato, Y., Nishigaki, F., Magari, K., Miyata, S., Ohkubo, Y., and Goto, T. (2001b). Effects of FK506 and other immunosuppressive anti-rheumatic agents on T cell activation mediated IL-6 and IgM production in vitro. International Immunopharmacology 1(4): 749-57.
  12. Ulrich, P., Paul, G., Perentes, E., Mahl, A., and Roman D. (2004). Validation of immune function testing during a 4-week oral toxicity study with FK506. Toxicology Letters 149(1-3): 123-31.
  13. Alessandro B, Paola S, Alberto E. Paneraic, Tiziana P,Paola Palanzaa and Stefano P(2003). Chronic psychosocial stress-induced down-regulation of immunity depends upon individual factors Journal of Neuroimmunology 141: 58–64
  14. Donna C. S, Matthew J. S and Kimber L. W Jr. (2010) Systemic immunosuppression following a single pharyngeal aspiration of 1,2:5,6-dibenzanthracene in female B6C3F1 mice, Journal of Immunotoxicology, 7:3, 219-231