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Blood. 2003 Oct 1;102(7):2522-31. Epub 2003 Jun 5.

A new xenograft model for graft-versus-host disease by intravenous transfer of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells in RAG2-/- gammac-/- double-mutant mice.

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  • 1Jordan Laboratory for Hemato-Oncology, Department of Hematology, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands.


The safe application of new strategies for the treatment of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is hampered by the lack of a clinically relevant model for preclinical testing. Current models are based on intraperitoneal transfer of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (huPBMCs) into NOD-SCID (nonobese diabetic-severe combined immunodeficient)/SCID mice. Intravenous transfer would be preferred but this has always been ineffective. We developed a new model for xenogeneic GVHD (X-GVHD) by intravenous transfer of huPBMCs into RAG2-/- gammac-/-mice. Our results show a high human T-cell chimerism of more than 20% (up to 98%) in more than 90% of mice, associated with a consistent development of XGVHD within 14 to 28 days and a total mortality rate of 85% shorter than 2 months. After murine macrophage depletion, engraftment was earlier and equally high with lower doses of huPBMCs. Human macrophages were also absent in these mice. Purified huCD3+ cells showed a similar X-GVH effect with contribution of both CD4 and CD8 phenotypes. Human immunoglobulins and cytokines were produced in diseased mice. One of 30 mice developed chronic X-GVHD with skin histology similar to human GVHD. In conclusion, we present a new model for X-GVHD by intravenous transfer of huPBMCs in RAG2-/- gammac-/- mice. Murine and human macrophages do not seem to be necessary for acute X-GVHD in this model.

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