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Blood. 2005 Mar 1;105(5):2189-97. Epub 2004 Nov 2.

Hematopoietic stem cells from NOD mice exhibit autonomous behavior and a competitive advantage in allogeneic recipients.

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Institute for Cellular Therapeutics, University of Louisville, 570 South Preston St, Suite 404, Louisville, KY 40202-1760, USA.


Type 1 diabetes is a systemic autoimmune disease that can be cured by transplantation of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) from disease-resistant donors. Nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice have a number of features that distinguish them as bone marrow transplant recipients that must be understood prior to the clinical application of chimerism to induce tolerance. In the present studies, we characterized NOD HSCs, comparing their engraftment characteristics to HSCs from disease-resistant strains. Strikingly, NOD HSCs are significantly enhanced in engraftment potential compared with HSCs from disease-resistant donors. Unlike HSCs from disease-resistant strains, they do not require graft-facilitating cells to engraft in allogeneic recipients. Additionally, they exhibit a competitive advantage when coadministered with increasing numbers of syngeneic HSCs, produce significantly more spleen colony-forming units (CFU-Ss) in vivo in allogeneic recipients, and more granulocyte macrophage-colony-forming units (CFU-GMs) in vitro compared with HSCs from disease-resistant controls. NOD HSCs also exhibit significantly enhanced chemotaxis to a stromal cell-derived factor 1 (SDF-1) gradient and adhere significantly better on primary stroma. This enhanced engraftment potential maps to the insulin-dependent diabetes locus 9 (Idd9) locus, and as such the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor family as well as ski/sno genes may be involved in the mechanism underlying the autonomy of NOD HSCs. These findings may have important implications to understand the evolution of autoimmune disease and impact on potential strategies for cure.

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