Combined use of tacrolimus (FK506) with sirolimus (rapamycin [RAPA]) was examined in a model of vascularized heart allograft in the rat. For prevention of acute rejection, three different combinations of low doses of FK506 and RAPA from day 1 up to day 14 after transplantation produced significantly longer cardiac allograft survival than each agent alone (P<0.05). Identical results were observed in a model of reversal of ongoing acute rejection, where two combinations of low doses of FK506 and RAPA from day 4 up to day 18 after surgery also demonstrated significantly longer graft survival than each immunosuppressant alone (P<0.05). All the low-dose-treated groups in these two models presented significantly longer heart graft survival than naive controls (P<0.05), confirming that both agents are potent immunosuppressants in the models chosen. These results also indicate that, in contrast with in vitro studies, the combined use of FK506 and RAPA in vivo did not produce antagonism, but rather had synergistic effect in prolonging the allograft survival as compared with each agent alone. It appears likely that the abundance of FKBP-12 available for binding in vivo prevents inhibitive competition of the two agents for their receptor.
View details for Web of Science ID 000071404400039
View details for PubMedID 9422432