Experimental hematology

Effective treatment against severe graft-versus-host disease with allele-specific anti-HLA monoclonal antibody in a humanized mouse model.

PMID 25448490


Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), mediated by donor-derived alloreactive T cells, is a major cause of nonrelapse mortality in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Its therapy is not well-defined. We established allele-specific anti-human leukocyte antigen (HLA) monoclonal antibodies (ASHmAbs) that specifically target HLA molecules, with steady death of target-expressing cells. One such ASHmAb, against HLA-A*02:01 (A2-kASHmAb), was examined in a xenogeneic GVHD mouse model. To induce fatal GVHD, non-irradiated NOD/Shi-scid/IL-2Rγ(null) mice were injected with healthy donor human peripheral blood mononuclear cells, some expressing HLA-A*02:01, some not. Administration of A2-kASHmAb promoted the survival of mice injected with HLA-A*02:01-expressing peripheral blood mononuclear cells (p < 0.0001) and, in humanized NOD/Shi-scid/IL-2Rγ(null) mice, immediately cleared HLA-A*02:01-expressing human blood cells from mouse peripheral blood. Human peripheral blood mononuclear cells were again detectable in mouse blood 2 to 4 weeks after A2-kASHmAb administration, suggesting that kASHmAb may be safely administered to GVHD patients without permanently ablating the graft. This approach, different from those in existing GVHD pharmacotherapy, may open a new door for treatment of GVHD in HLA-mismatched allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.