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Bone Marrow Transplant. 2004 Oct;34(8):703-9.

Expansion and activation of minor histocompatibility antigen HY-specific T cells associated with graft-versus-leukemia response.

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Department of Cellular Transplantation Biology, Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medicine, 13-1 Takaramachi, Kanazawa 920-8641, Japan.


The immune system of females is capable of recognizing and reacting against the male-specific minor histocompatibility antigen (mHA), HY. Thus, cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTLs) recognizing this antigen may be useful in eradicating leukemic cells of a male patient if they can be generated in vivo or in vitro from a human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-identical female donor. The HLA-A*0201-restricted HY antigen, FIDSYICQV, is a male-specific mHA. Using HLA-A2/HY peptide tetrameric complexes, we reveal a close association between the emergence of HY peptide-specific CD8(+) T cells in peripheral blood and molecular remission of relapsed BCR/ABL(+) chronic myelogenous leukemia in lymphoid blast crisis in a patient who underwent female-to-male transplantation. Assessment of intracellular cytokine levels identified T cells that produce interferon-gamma in response to the HY peptide during the presence of HY tetramer-positive T cells. These results indicate that transplant with allogeneic HY-specific CTLs has therapeutic potential for relapsed leukemia, and that expansion of such T cells may be involved in the development of a graft-versus-leukemia response against lymphoblastic leukemia cells.

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