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Blood. 2014 Sep 18;124(12):1976-86. doi: 10.1182/blood-2013-05-500876. Epub 2014 Jul 25.

Absence of STAT1 in donor-derived plasmacytoid dendritic cells results in increased STAT3 and attenuates murine GVHD.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics and Carbone Cancer Center, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI;
  • 2Pediatric Oncology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, and.
  • 3Laboratory of Genetics and Physiology, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.


Selective targeting of non-T cells, including antigen-presenting cells (APCs), is a potential strategy to prevent graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD) but to maintain graft-versus-tumor (GVT) effects. Because type I and II interferons signal through signal transducer and activator of transcription-1 (STAT1), and contribute to activation of APCs after allogeneic bone marrow transplant (alloBMT), we examined whether the absence of STAT1 in donor APCs could prevent GVHD while preserving immune competence. Transplantation of STAT1(-/-) bone marrow (BM) prevented GVHD induced by STAT1(+/+) T cells, leading to expansion of B220(+) cells and regulatory T cells. STAT1(-/-) BM also preserved GVT activity and enhanced overall survival of tumor-challenged mice in the setting of GVHD. Furthermore, recipients of allogeneic STAT1(-/-) BM demonstrated increased CD9(-)Siglec H(hi) plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs), and depletion of pDCs after STAT1(-/-) BM transplantation prevented GVHD resistance. STAT1(-/-) pDCs were found to produce decreased free radicals, IFNα, and interleukin (IL)-12, and increased IL-10. Additionally, STAT1(-/-) pDCs that were isolated after alloBMT showed increased gene expression of S100A8 and S100A9, and transplantation of S100A9(-/-) BM reduced GVHD-free survival. Finally, elevated STAT3 was found in STAT1(-/-) pDCs isolated after alloBMT. We conclude that interfering with interferon signaling in APCs such as pDCs provides a novel approach to regulate the GVHD/GVT axis.

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