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Blood. 2010 Feb 4;115(5):1088-97. doi: 10.1182/blood-2009-05-223198. Epub 2009 Dec 4.

Short-term inhibition of p53 combined with keratinocyte growth factor improves thymic epithelial cell recovery and enhances T-cell reconstitution after murine bone marrow transplantation.

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Division of Hematology, Oncology, and Blood and Marrow Transplantation, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.


Myeloablative conditioning before bone marrow transplantation (BMT) results in thymic epithelial cell (TEC) injury, T-cell immune deficiency, and susceptibility to opportunistic infections. Conditioning regimen-induced TEC damage directly contributes to slow thymopoietic recovery after BMT. Keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) is a TEC mitogen that stimulates proliferation and, when given before conditioning, reduces TEC injury. Some TEC subsets are refractory to KGF and functional T-cell responses are not fully restored in KGF-treated BM transplant recipients. Therefore, we investigated whether the addition of a pharmacologic inhibitor, PFT-beta, to transiently inhibit p53 during radiotherapy could spare TECs from radiation-induced damage in congenic and allogeneic BMTs. Combined before BMT KGF + PFT-beta administration additively restored numbers of cortical and medullary TECs and improved thymic function after BMT, resulting in higher numbers of donor-derived, naive peripheral CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells. Radiation conditioning caused a loss of T-cell zone fibroblastic reticular cells (FRCs) and CCL21 expression in lymphoid stroma. KGF + PFT-beta treatment restored both FRC and CCL21 expression, findings that correlated with improved T-cell reconstitution and an enhanced immune response against Listeria monocytogenes infection. Thus, transient p53 inhibition combined with KGF represents a novel and potentially translatable approach to promote rapid and durable thymic and peripheral T-cell recovery after BMT.

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