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Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2011 Dec;17(12):1846-54. doi: 10.1016/j.bbmt.2011.05.017. Epub 2011 May 30.

Immune reconstitution in recipients of photodepleted HLA-identical sibling donor stem cell transplantations: T cell subset frequencies predict outcome.

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Allotransplantation Section, Hematology Branch, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


We evaluated an ex vivo photodepletion (PD) technique to selectively deplete graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) alloreacting T cells given to 24 human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-identical sibling stem cell transplantation (SCT) recipients. Donor lymphocytes were activated by 72-hour exposure to irradiated in vitro expanded recipient T lymphocytes and pulsed with a TH9402 photosensitizer. Alloactivated T cells preferentially retaining the photosensitizer were eliminated by light exposure. The PD product showed an inverted CD4(+)/CD8(+) ratio with greatest depletion occurring in the CD4(+) naive and central memory populations. In contrast, the CD8(+) naive and effector cells were relatively conserved, reflecting the differential extrusion of TH9402 by T cell subsets. Cytomegalovirus reactive T cells were reduced in the PD product and in recipient blood 100 days after SCT when compared with contemporaneous HLA-identical sibling donor T cell-depleted SCT recipients. Although PD SCT recipients experienced similar absolute lymphocyte counts during the first 100 days after SCT, they achieved 100% donor T cell chimerism more rapidly and had higher CD8(+) naive T cell counts early after SCT. SCT recipients of PD products with the lowest CD4 central memory content had the highest risk of developing chronic GVHD (cGVHD) (P = .04) and a poorer survival (P = .03). Although the persistence of CD8(+) naive T cells may have contributed to important antileukemia responses resulting in a relatively low relapse rate, our findings emphasize the role of donor memory T cells and CD4 cells in establishing immune competence post-SCT. Although PD is associated with excellent outcomes in the haploidentical setting, the low frequency of alloactivations in HLA-matched pairs makes the PD approach used by our group for allodepletion in HLA-matched sibling transplantations an inefficient technique.

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