Increased apoptosis of peripheral blood T cells following allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation.

Lin MT, Tseng LH, Frangoul H, Gooley T, Pei J, Barsoukov A, Akatsuka Y, Hansen JA
Blood. 2000 95 (12): 3832-9

PMID: 10845917

Lymphopenia and immune deficiency are significant problems following allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). It is largely assumed that delayed immune reconstruction is due to a profound decrease in thymus-dependent lymphopoiesis, especially in older patients, but apoptosis is also known to play a significant role in lymphocyte homeostasis. Peripheral T cells from patients who received HCT were studied for evidence of increased cell death. Spontaneous apoptosis was measured in CD3(+) T cells following a 24-hour incubation using 7-amino-actinomycin D in conjunction with the dual staining of cell surface antigens. Apoptosis was significantly greater among CD3(+) T cells taken from patients 19-23 days after transplantation (30.4% +/- 12.5%, P <.05), and 1 year after transplantation (9.7% +/- 2.8%, P <.05) compared with healthy controls (4.0% +/- 1.5%). Increased apoptosis occurred preferentially in HLA (human leukocyte antigen)-DR positive cells and in both CD3(+)/CD4(+) and CD3(+)/CD8(+) T-cell subsets, while CD56(+)/CD3(-) natural killer cells were relatively resistant to apoptosis. The extent of CD4(+) T-cell apoptosis was greater in patients with grade II-IV acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) (33. 9% +/- 11.3%) compared with grade 0-I GVHD (14.6 +/- 6.5%, P <.05). T-cell apoptosis was also greater in patients who received transplantations from HLA-mismatched donors (39.5% +/- 10.4%, P <. 05) or HLA-matched unrelated donors (32.1% +/- 11.4%, P <.05) compared with patients who received transplantations from HLA-identical siblings (19.6% +/- 6.7%). The intensity of apoptosis among CD4(+) T cells was significantly correlated with a lower CD4(+) T-cell count. Together, these observations suggest that activation of T cells in vivo, presumably by alloantigens, predisposes the cells to spontaneous apoptosis, and this phenomenon is associated with lymphopenia. Activation-induced T-cell apoptosis may contribute to delayed immune reconstitution following HCT. (Blood. 2000;95:3832-3839)

MeSH Terms (17)

Acute Disease Adult Antigens, CD Apoptosis CD3 Complex Cells, Cultured Dactinomycin Fluorescent Dyes Graft vs Host Disease Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Histocompatibility Testing HLA-DR Antigens Humans In Situ Nick-End Labeling Middle Aged T-Lymphocytes Transplantation, Homologous

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