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PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e21266. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021266. Epub 2011 Jun 24.

Concurrent detection of circulating minor histocompatibility antigen-specific CD8+ T cells in SCT recipients by combinatorial encoding MHC multimers.

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  • 1Laboratory of Hematology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, The Netherlands.


Allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT) is a potentially curative treatment for patients with hematologic malignancies. Its therapeutic effect is largely dependent on recognition of minor histocompatibility antigens (MiHA) by donor-derived CD8⁺ T cells. Therefore, monitoring of multiple MiHA-specific CD8⁺ T cell responses may prove to be valuable for evaluating the efficacy of allogeneic SCT. In this study, we investigated the use of the combinatorial encoding MHC multimer technique to simultaneously detect MiHA-specific CD8⁺ T cells in peripheral blood of SCT recipients. Feasibility of this approach was demonstrated by applying dual-color encoding MHC multimers for a set of 10 known MiHA. Interestingly, single staining using a fluorochrome- and Qdot-based five-color combination showed comparable results to dual-color staining for most MiHA-specific CD8⁺ T cell responses. In addition, we determined the potential value of combinatorial encoding MHC multimers in MiHA identification. Therefore, a set of 75 candidate MiHA peptides was predicted from polymorphic genes with a hematopoietic expression profile and further selected for high and intermediate binding affinity for HLA-A2. Screening of a large cohort of SCT recipients resulted in the detection of dual-color encoded CD8⁺ T cells following MHC multimer-based T cell enrichment and short ex vivo expansion. Interestingly, candidate MiHA-specific CD8⁺ T cell responses for LAG3 and TLR10 derived polymorphic peptides could be confirmed by genotyping of the respective SNPs. These findings demonstrate the potency of the combinatorial MHC multimer approach in the monitoring of CD8⁺ T cell responses to known and potential MiHA in limited amounts of peripheral blood from allogeneic SCT recipients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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