Sirolimus inhibits T lymphocyte activation and proliferation that occurs in response to antigenic and cytokine (Interleukin IL-2, IL-4, and IL-15) stimulation by a mechanism that is distinct from that of other immunosuppressants. Sirolimus also inhibits antibody production. In cells, sirolimus binds to the immunophilin, FK Binding Protein-12 (FKBP-12), to generate an immunosuppressive complex. The sirolimus:FKBP-12 complex has no effect on calcineurin activity. This complex binds to and inhibits the activation of the mammalian Target Of Rapamycin (mTOR), a key regulatory kinase. This inhibition suppresses cytokine-driven T-cell proliferation, inhibiting the progression from the G1 to the S phase of the cell cycle.
Sirolimus, a macrocyclic lactone produced by Streptomyces hygroscopicus, is an immunosuppressive agent indicated for the prophylaxis of organ rejection in patients receiving renal transplants. It is recommended that sirolimus be used in a regimen with cyclosporine and corticosteroids.