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Cell Stem Cell. 2011 Aug 5;9(2):119-30. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2011.06.003.

Ex vivo expanded hematopoietic stem cells overcome the MHC barrier in allogeneic transplantation.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75390, USA.


The lack of understanding of the interplay between hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and the immune system has severely hampered the stem cell research and practice of transplantation. Major problems for allogeneic transplantation include low levels of donor engraftment and high risks of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Transplantation of purified allogeneic HSCs diminishes the risk of GVHD but results in decreased engraftment. Here we show that ex vivo expanded mouse HSCs efficiently overcame the major histocompatibility complex barrier and repopulated allogeneic-recipient mice. An 8-day expansion culture led to a 40-fold increase of the allograft ability of HSCs. Both increased numbers of HSCs and culture-induced elevation of expression of the immune inhibitor CD274 (B7-H1 or PD-L1) on the surface of HSCs contributed to the enhancement. Our study indicates the great potential of utilizing ex vivo expanded HSCs for allogeneic transplantation and suggests that the immune privilege of HSCs can be modulated.

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