Experimental hematology

Interleukin 21 blockade modulates activated T- and B-cell homeostasis via B-cell activating factor pathway-mediated inhibition in a murine model of acute graft-versus-host disease.

PMID 25246268


Interleukin (IL) 21 plays a key role in the development of acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. Therapeutic manipulation of IL-21 activity may improve acute GVHD during the early-posttransplant period. We investigated the mechanisms regulating T- and B-cells during IL-21 blockade in acute GVHD. Interleukin 21 blockade enhanced regulatory T and T helper (Th) 2 cell differentiation and inhibited Th1- and Th17-derived transcription factors and cytokines as a modulator of activated T-cells. Interleukin 21(-/-) cell recipients showed increased mature B- and marginal-zone B-cells, but decreased memory B-cells, germinal center formation, and plasma cells that did not lead to immunoglobulin production. B-cell activating factor (BAFF) and a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL) are involved in the induction and maintenance of T- and B-cell responses. We observed decreased levels of only BAFF during acute GVHD and confirmed that mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 was reduced by the BAFF/BAFF-receptor pathway. Therefore, this study suggests that IL-21 blockade modulates activated T- and B-cell homeostasis via BAFF-pathway-mediated inhibition in acute GVHD following murine allogeneic bone marrow transplantation.