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Leukemia. 2004 Apr;18(4):798-808.

Direct cloning of leukemia-reactive T cells from patients treated with donor lymphocyte infusion shows a relative dominance of hematopoiesis-restricted minor histocompatibility antigen HA-1 and HA-2 specific T cells.

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Department of Hematology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.


Donor T cells recognizing hematopoiesis-restricted minor histocompatibility antigens (mHags) HA-1 and HA-2 on malignant cells play a role in the antileukemia effect of donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI) in patients with relapsed leukemia after allogeneic stem cell transplantation. We quantified the contribution of HA-1 and HA-2 specific T cells to the total number of leukemia-reactive T cells in three HA-2 and/or HA-1 positive patients responding to DLI from their mHag negative donors. Clinical responses occurring 5-7 weeks after DLI were accompanied by an increase in percentages HLA-DR expressing T cells within the CD8+ T cell population. To clonally analyze the leukemia-reactive immune response, T cells responding to the malignancy by secreting IFNgamma were isolated from peripheral blood, directly cloned, and expanded. Tetramer analysis and specific lysis of peptide-pulsed target cells showed that 3-35% of cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) clones isolated were specific for HA-1 or HA-2. TCR VB analysis showed oligoclonal origin of the HA-1 and HA-2 specific CTL clones. The HA-1 and HA-2 specific CTL clones inhibited leukemic progenitor cell growth in vitro. The relatively high frequency of HA-1 and HA-2 specific T cells within the total number of tumor-reactive T cells illustrates relative immunodominance of mHags HA-1 and HA-2.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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