Chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) is a major complication of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. In cGVHD, alloreactive T cells and germinal center (GC) B cells often participate in GC reactions to produce pathogenic antibodies. Although regulatory T cells (Tregs) can inhibitGCreactions, Treg numbers are reduced in cGVHD, contributing to cGVHD pathogenesis. Here, we explored 2 means to increase Tregs in cGVHD: interleukin-2/monoclonal antibody (IL-2/mAb) complexes and donor Treg infusions. IL-2/mAb complexes given over 1 month were efficacious in expanding Tregs and treating established cGVHD in a multi-organ-system disease mouse model characterized by GC reactions, antibody deposition, and lung dysfunction. In an acute GVHD (aGVHD) model, IL-2/mAb complexes given for only 4 days resulted in rapid mortality, indicating IL-2/mAb complexes can drive conventional T-cell (Tcon)-mediated injury. In contrast, Treg infusions, which uniformly suppress aGVHD, increased Treg frequency and were effective in preventing the onset of, and treating, established cGVHD. Efficacy was dependent upon CXCR5-sufficient Tregs homing to, and inhibiting, GC reactions. These studies indicate that the infusion of Tregs, especially ones enriched for GC homing, may be desirable for cGVHD therapy. Although IL-2/mAb complexes can be efficacious in cGVHD, a cautious approach needs to be taken in settings in which aGVHD elements, and associated Tcon, are present.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology