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ATGAM® (lymphocyte immune globulin, anti-thymocyte globulin [equine]) Clinical Pharmacology


12.1 Mechanism of Action

ATGAM is composed of antibodies that bind a wide variety of proteins on the surface of lymphocytes. In addition, ATGAM binds to granulocytes, platelets, bone marrow cells, and other cell types. The mechanism of ATGAM-induced immunosuppression has not been determined. Published data indicate that the primary mechanism is the depletion of circulating lymphocytes, with greatest effect on T lymphocytes. Lymphocyte depletion may be caused by complement dependent lysis and/or activation-induced apoptosis. In addition, immunosuppression may be mediated by the binding of antibodies to lymphocytes which results in partial activation and induction of T lymphocyte anergy.

The mechanism of ATGAM therapy for aplastic anemia is attributed to its immunosuppressive actions. In addition, ATGAM directly stimulates the growth of hematopoietic stem cells and release of hematopoietic growth factors such as interleukin-3 and granulocyte/macrophage colony stimulating factor.

12.3 Pharmacokinetics


During infusion of 10 to 15 mg/kg/day, the mean peak value (n = 27 renal transplant patients) was found to be 727 ± 310 μg/mL.

Metabolism and Elimination

The half-life of equine immunoglobulin after ATGAM infusion was found to be 5.7 ± 3.0 days in one group of recipients. The range for half-life was 1.5 to 13 days.

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