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Blood. 2005 Mar 1;105(5):2227-34. Epub 2004 Nov 2.

Distinct roles for donor- and host-derived antigen-presenting cells and costimulatory molecules in murine chronic graft-versus-host disease: requirements depend on target organ.

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Section of Immunobiology, the Department of Dermatology, Yale University School of Medicine, 333 Cedar St, Box 208035, New Haven, CT 06520-8035, USA.


The application of allogeneic stem cell transplantation (alloSCT) is limited by graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). GVHD can be divided into acute and chronic forms that likely have different requirements for initiation and pathogenesis mechanisms. In prior studies we demonstrated that residual host antigen-presenting cells (APCs) were required to initiate acute GVHD (aGVHD) mediated by CD8 T cells. In contrast, here we demonstrate that either donor or host APCs can initiate CD4-mediated GVHD in a model that has features of chronic GVHD (cGVHD). Both donor and host APCs must provide CD80/86-dependent costimulation to elicit maximal cGVHD, and there is no GVHD when both donor and host lack CD80/86. Finally, we were surprised to find that, although either donor or host APCs are sufficient to stimulate skin cGVHD, donor APCs play a dominant role in intestinal cGVHD. Both CD40 and CD80/86 are critical for donor APC function in intestinal cGVHD, but only CD80/86 is required for skin cGVHD. Thus, there are target-tissue-specific differences in APC requirements. These results identify differences in APC requirements between CD8-mediated aGVHD and CD4-mediated cGVHD. They further highlight donor APCs as additional targets for GVHD therapy.

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