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Clin Exp Immunol. 2011 Nov;166(2):269-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.2011.04462.x.

Human peripheral blood CD4 T cell-engrafted non-obese diabetic-scid IL2rγ(null) H2-Ab1 (tm1Gru) Tg (human leucocyte antigen D-related 4) mice: a mouse model of human allogeneic graft-versus-host disease.

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University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01605, USA.


Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a life-threatening complication of human allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Non-obese diabetic (NOD)-scid IL2rγ(null) (NSG) mice injected with human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) engraft at high levels and develop a robust xenogeneic (xeno)-GVHD, which reproduces many aspects of the clinical disease. Here we show that enriched and purified human CD4 T cells engraft readily in NSG mice and mediate xeno-GVHD, although with slower kinetics compared to injection of whole PBMC. Moreover, purified human CD4 T cells engraft but do not induce a GVHD in NSG mice that lack murine MHC class II (NSG-H2-Ab1(tm1Gru), NSG-Ab°), demonstrating the importance of murine major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II in the CD4-mediated xeno-response. Injection of purified human CD4 T cells from a DR4-negative donor into a newly developed NSG mouse strain that expresses human leucocyte antigen D-related 4 (HLA-DR4) but not murine class II (NSG-Ab° DR4) induces an allogeneic GVHD characterized by weight loss, fur loss, infiltration of human cells in skin, lung and liver and a high level of mortality. The ability of human CD4 T cells to mediate an allo-GVHD in NSG-Ab° DR4 mice suggests that this model will be useful to investigate acute allo-GVHD pathogenesis and to evaluate human specific therapies.

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