Open Access
CD137, implications in immunity and potential for therapy
Elaine Thum1,Zhe Shao1,Herbert Schwarz1
Dept. of Physiology, and Immunology Programme, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, 117456 Singapore
DOI: 10.2741/3521 Volume 14 Issue 11, pp.4173-4188
Published: 01 January 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cellular therapy and vaccine development)

CD137 is a member of the TNF receptor family and a potent T cell costimulatory molecule. Crosslinking of CD137 on activated T cells has shown promise in enhancing anti-tumor immune responses in murine models, and agonistic anti-CD137 antibodies are currently being tested in phase I clinical trials. Surprisingly, these very same agonistic anti-CD137 antibodies have also been found to ameliorate autoimmune disease under certain circumstances. At the current state of knowledge these circumstances cannot be clearly defined. Therefore, anti-CD137 antibodies in man will need to be used with caution. CD137 ligand is expressed by antigen presenting cells. Antagonistic anti-CD137 ligand antibodies have shown efficacy in dampening disease in murine autoimmune models. A similar effect would be expected from antagonistic anti-CD137 antibodies, soluble CD137, or any other compound interfering with CD137 / CD137 ligand interaction. CD137 ligand is expressed as a transmembrane protein on the cell surface and it too can transmit signals into antigen presenting cells. Agonistic anti-CD137 ligand antibodies or a recombinant CD137 protein could stimulate the activity of antigen presenting cells.

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Elaine Thum, Zhe Shao, Herbert Schwarz. CD137, implications in immunity and potential for therapy. Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark. 2009. 14(11); 4173-4188.