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Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2010 Sep;16(9):1222-30. doi: 10.1016/j.bbmt.2010.03.015. Epub 2010 Mar 23.

Recipient B cells are not required for graft-versus-host disease induction.

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  • 1Yale Cancer Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06620, USA.


Recipient antigen presenting cells (APCs) are required for CD8-mediated graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), and have an important and nonredundant role in CD4-mediated GVHD in mouse major histocompatibility complex-matched allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (alloBMT). However, the precise roles of specific recipient APCs-dendritic cells, macrophages, and B cells-are not well defined. If recipient B cells are important APCs they could be depleted with rituximab, an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody. On the other hand, B cells can downregulate T cell responses, and consequently, B cell depletion could exacerbate GVHD. Patients with B cell lymphomas undergo allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (alloSCT) and many are B-cell-deficient because of prior rituximab. We therefore studied the role of recipient B cells in major histocompatibility complex-matched murine models of CD8- and CD4-mediated GVHD by using recipients genetically deficient in B cells and with antibody-mediated depletion of host B cells. In both CD4- and CD8-dependent models, B cell-deficient recipients developed clinical and pathologic GVHD. However, although CD8-mediated GVHD was clinically less severe in hosts genetically deficient in B cells, it was unaffected in anti-CD20-treated recipients. These data indicate that recipient B cells are not important initiators of GVHD, and that efforts to prevent GVHD by APC depletion should focus on other APC subsets.

Copyright (c) 2010 American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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