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Blood. 2000 Dec 15;96(13):4350-6.

Keratinocyte growth factor facilitates alloengraftment and ameliorates graft-versus-host disease in mice by a mechanism independent of repair of conditioning-induced tissue injury.

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Department of Pediatrics, Heme/Onc/BMT Division, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55455, USA.


We have previously shown that pretreatment of mice with keratinocyte growth factor (KGF), an epithelial tissue repair factor, can ameliorate graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after intensive chemoradiotherapeutic conditioning and allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT). To determine whether this effect was dependent on a KGF-mediated mechanism affecting repair of conditioning-induced epithelial cell injury, we studied GVHD in the absence of conditioning using BALB/c severe combined immune-deficient (SCID) recipients given C57BL/6 T cells. KGF (5 mg/kg per day, subcutaneously) given either before or after T-cell transfer enhanced body weights and extended survival. KGF-treated recipients had elevated serum levels of the Th2 cytokine interleukin 13 (IL-13) on day 6 after T-cell transfer concomitant with reduced levels of the inflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interferon gamma (IFN-gamma). A 3-day KGF pretreatment also depressed the secondary in vitro mixed lymphocyte response (MLR) of C57BL/6 splenocytes taken 7 days after in vivo alloimmunization with irradiated BALB/c spleen cells. To determine whether KGF would inhibit host-antidonor-mediated BM rejection, pan-T-cell-depleted BALB/c BM cells were infused into sublethally irradiated C57BL/6 mice and administered KGF either before or before and after BMT. Surprisingly, all KGF schedules tested actually resulted in enhanced alloengraftment. The presence of KGF receptor on donor antihost alloreactive T cells could not be detected by binding studies with radiolabeled KGF, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, and Western blotting. Therefore, the mechanism of action of KGF on inhibiting T-cell-mediated immune effects may not be due to a direct effect of KGF on T cells. These studies demonstrate that KGF, by mechanisms independent of repair of conditioning-induced injury, has great potential as an anti-GVHD therapeutic agent with the added benefit of inhibiting the rejection of pan-T-cell-depleted donor BM allografts. (Blood. 2000;96:4350-4356).

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