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Immunology. 2001 Jul;103(3):310-8.

The role of donor T cells for target organ injuries in acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease.

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Second Department of Internal Medicine, Hyogo College of Medicine, Nishinomiya, Hyogo, Japan.


Donor T cells are crucial for target organ injury in graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). We examined the effects of donor T cells on the target organs using a parent-into-F1 model of acute and chronic GVHD. Donor T cells showed engraftment in the spleen, small intestine and liver of mice with acute GVHD, causing typical GVHD pathology in these organs. Interferon-gamma and Fas ligand expression were up-regulated, and host lymphocytes were depleted in the target organs of these mice. In contrast, donor T cells did not show engraftment in the small intestine of mice with chronic GVHD, and no GVHD pathology was observed in this organ. However, both donor T-cell engraftment and GVHD pathology were observed in the spleen and liver of chronic GVHD mice, along with the up-regulation of interleukin-4 (IL-4) and IL-10 expression plus the expansion of host lymphocytes such as splenic B cells and hepatic natural killer (NK) 1.1+ T cells. Donor anti-host cytotoxic T-lymphocyte activity was observed in spleen cells from mice with acute GVHD, but not in spleen cells from mice with chronic GVHD. Transplantation of Fas ligand-deficient (gld) spleen cells did not induce host lymphocyte depletion in target organs. These results indicate that donor T cells augment type 1 T helper immune responses and deplete the host lymphocytes from target organs mainly by Fas-mediated pathways in acute GVHD, while donor T cells augment type 2 T helper immune responses and expand host splenic B cells and hepatic NK1.1+ T cells in chronic GVHD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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