We have developed a major histocompatibility complex-defined primate model of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and have determined the effect that CD28/CD40-directed costimulation blockade and sirolimus have on this disease. Severe GVHD developed after haploidentical transplantation without prophylaxis, characterized by rapid clinical decline and widespread T-cell infiltration and organ damage. Mechanistic analysis showed activation and possible counter-regulation, with rapid T-cell expansion and accumulation of CD8 + and CD4+ granzyme B+ effector cells and FoxP3pos/CD27high/CD25pos/CD127low CD4+ T cells. CD8+ cells down-regulated CD127 and BCl-2 and up-regulated Ki-67, consistent with a highly activated, proliferative pro-file. A cytokine storm also occurred, with GVHD-specific secretion of interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra), IL-18, and CCL4. Costimulation Blockade and Sirolimus (CoBS) resulted in striking protection against GVHD. At the 30-day primary endpoint, CoBS-treated recipients showed 100% survival compared with no survival in untreated recipients. CoBS treatment resulted in survival, increasing from 11.6 to 62 days (P < .01) with blunting of T-cell expansion and activation. Some CoBS-treated animals did eventually develop GVHD, with both clinical and histopathologic evidence of smoldering disease. The reservoir of CoBS-resistant breakthrough immune activation included secretion of interferon-γ, IL-2, monocyte chemotactic protein-1, and IL-12/IL-23 and proliferation of cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 immunoglobulinresistant CD28- CD8+ T cells, suggesting adjuvant treatments targeting this subpopulation will be needed for full disease control.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology