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Transplantation. 2011 May 15;91(9):946-51. doi: 10.1097/TP.0b013e318212c833.

The involvement of epithelial Fas in a human model of graft versus host disease.

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IMED AB, 171 65 Solna, Sweden.



Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is an important complication occurring after hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT). Animal model studies have shown the involvement of the Fas (APO-1/CD95)/Fas-Ligand pathway in GVHD pathogenesis, but its association with cutaneous GVHD in human remains to be established.


In the present study, Fas involvement in skin damage was assessed using a human skin explant model of GVHD. Fas and FasL expression were measured by immunohistochemistry and blockade of Fas pathway was investigated using an antagonistic anti-human Fas monoclonal antibody. In addition, levels of soluble Fas (sFas) were determined in the serum of patients receiving allogeneic HSCT with and without GVHD.


The results showed that Fas up-regulation in the epithelium of human skin explants correlated with graft-versus-host reaction (GVHR) in the skin explant model (P<0.001). Decreased GVHR grades were observed by using a Fas blocking monoclonal antibody. Levels of sFas were increased post-HSCT (P<0.001) but rather than being associated with the severity of GVHD, sFas levels differed with the conditioning treatments the patients received before the HSCT.


Higher GVHR grades were associated with increased Fas expression in the epithelium of the skin explants. In addition, by blocking Fas-mediated apoptosis, the GVHR grades were decreased. Our study thus shows the involvement of Fas in cutaneous GVHD damage, and supports the potential use of Fas as a therapeutic target.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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