British journal of haematology

Alloantigen-specific T-cell depletion in a major histocompatibility complex fully mismatched murine model provides effective graft-versus-host disease prophylaxis in the presence of lymphoid engraftment.

PMID 12100133


Graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) is a multistep immune process involving lymphocyte activation, proliferation and target cell killing. We have devised a novel method for the selective depletion of alloreactive cells from haematopoietic stem cell grafts which retains a pool of immunocompetent lymphocytes possessing antiviral activity with the potential to hasten immune reconstitution. The method is based upon the expression of the activation antigen CD69 on responding donor lymphocytes in a cytokine-modified mixed lymphocyte culture (mMLC) and depletion of these cells by paramagnetic bead sorting. We have previously demonstrated the in vitro efficacy of this system for the removal of alloreactive cells in both human leucocyte antigen-mismatched and -matched settings. Here, we describe a non-obese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient murine model of aggressive GvHD in which we have tested its in vivo efficacy. Murine recipients of infusions of non-manipulated major histocompatibility complex class I and class II mismatched donor T cells suffered rapid onset of acute, and generally fatal, GvHD. This model is akin to aggressive clinical transfusion-related GvHD. Recipients of lymphocyte infusions depleted of CD69+ alloreactive donor cells ex vivo and monitored for 10 weeks post infusion demonstrated significantly improved survival (71.4% compared with 12.5% in the non-manipulated group) and the absence of clinical GvHD despite the presence of circulating donor lymphocytes.