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Blood. 2001 Sep 15;98(6):1687-94.

Delayed donor red cell chimerism and pure red cell aplasia following major ABO-incompatible nonmyeloablative hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

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Department of Transfusion Medicine, Warren Magnuson Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.


Delayed donor red cell engraftment and pure red cell aplasia (PRCA) are well-recognized complications of major ABO-incompatible hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (SCT) performed by means of myeloablative conditioning. To evaluate these events following reduced-intensity nonmyeloablative SCT (NST), consecutive series of patients with major ABO incompatibility undergoing either NST (fludarabine/cyclophosphamide conditioning) or myeloablative SCT (cyclophosphamide/high-dose total body irradiation) were compared. Donor red blood cell (RBC) chimerism (initial detection of donor RBCs in peripheral blood) was markedly delayed following NST versus myeloablative SCT (median, 114 versus 40 days; P <.0001) and strongly correlated with decreasing host antidonor isohemagglutinin levels. Antidonor isohemagglutinins declined to clinically insignificant levels more slowly following NST than myeloablative SCT (median, 83 versus 44 days; P =.03). Donor RBC chimerism was delayed more than 100 days in 9 of 14 (64%) and PRCA occurred in 4 of 14 (29%) patients following NST, while neither event occurred in 12 patients following myeloablative SCT. Conversion to full donor myeloid chimerism following NST occurred significantly sooner in cases with, compared with cases without, PRCA (30 versus 98 days; P =.008). Cyclosporine withdrawal appeared to induce graft-mediated immune effects against recipient isohemagglutinin-producing cells, resulting in decreased antidonor isohemagglutinin levels and resolution of PRCA following NST. These data indicate that significantly delayed donor erythropoiesis is (1) common following major ABO-incompatible NST and (2) associated with prolonged persistence of host antidonor isohemagglutinins. The clinical manifestations of these events are affected by the degree and duration of residual host hematopoiesis.

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