Human regulatory T cells control xenogeneic graft-versus-host disease induced by autologous T cells in RAG2-/- γc-/- immunodeficient mice

Tuna Mutis, Rozemarijn S. Van Rijn, Elles R. Simonetti, Tineke Aarts-Riemens, Maarten E. Emmelot, Louis Van Bloois, Anton Martens, Leo F. Verdonck, Saskia B. Ebeling

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Purpose: Effective prevention of graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) is a major challenge to improve the safety of allogeneic stem cell transplantation for leukemia treatment. In murine transplantation models, administration of naturally occurring CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells (Treg) can prevent GvHD. Toward understanding the role of human Treg in stem cell transplantation, we studied their capacity to modulate T-cell-dependent xenogeneic (x)-GvHD in a new model where X-GvHD is induced in RAG2-/- γc-/- mice by i.v. administration of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). Experimental Design: Human PBMC, depleted of or supplemented with autologous CD25+ Tregs, were administered in mice at different doses. The development of x-GvHD, in vivo expansion of human T cells, and secretion of human cytokines were monitored at weekly intervals. Results: Depletion of CD25+ cells from human PBMC significantly exacerbated x-GvHD and accelerated its lethality. In contrast, coadministration of Treg-enriched CD25+ cell fractions with autologous PBMC significantly reduced the lethality of x-GvHD. Treg administration significantly inhibited the explosive expansion of effector CD4+ and CD8 + T cells. Interestingly, protection from x-GvHD after Treg administration was associated with a significant increase in plasma levels of interleukin-10 and IFN-γ, suggesting the de novo development of TRI cells. Conclusions: These results show, for the first time, the potent in vivo capacity of naturally occurring human Tregs to control GvHD-inducing autologous T cells, and indicate that this xenogeneic in vivo model may provide a suitable platform to further explore the in vivo mechanisms of T-cell down-regulation by naturally occurring human Tregs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5520-5525
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2006

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