The immunosuppressants cyclosporin A (CsA), FK506, and rapamycin suppress the immune response by inhibiting evolutionary conserved signal transduction pathways. CsA, FK506, and rapamycin bind to their intracellular receptors, immunophilins, creating composite surfaces that block the activity of specific targets. For CsA/cyclophilin and FK506/FKBP the target is calcineurin. Because of the large surface area of interaction of the drug-immunophilin complex with calcineurin, FK506 and CsA have a specificity for their biologic targets that is equivalent to growth factor-receptor interactions. To date, all the therapeutic as well as toxic effects of these drugs have been shown to be due to inhibition of calcineurin. Inhibition of the action of calcineurin results in a complete block in the translocation of the cytosolic component of the nuclear factor of activated T cells (NF-AT), resulting in a failure to activate the genes regulated by the NF-AT transcription factor. These genes include those required for B-cell help such as interleukin (IL-4) and CD40 ligand as well as those necessary for T-cell proliferation such as IL-2. The purpose of this article is to illustrate the means by which these drugs produce immunosuppression.
View details for Web of Science ID A1996VG75000006
View details for PubMedID 8811062