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Graft-versus-host disease causes failure of donor hematopoiesis and lymphopoiesis in interferon-gamma receptor-deficient hosts.

Delisle JS, Gaboury L, Bélanger MP, Tassé E, Yagita H, Perreault C

Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer, Montréal, QC, Canada.

The immunopathologic condition known as graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) results from a type I T-cell process. However, a prototypical type I cytokine, interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), can protect against several manifestations of GVHD in recipients of major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-mismatched hematopoietic cells. We transplanted hematopoietic cells from C3H.SW donors in wild-type (wt) and IFN-gamma-receptor-deficient (IFN-gammaRKO) MHC-matched C57BL/6 recipients. In IFN-gammaRKO recipients, host cells were unresponsive to IFN-gamma, whereas wt donor cells were exposed to exceptionally high levels of IFN-gamma. From an IFN-gamma perspective, we could therefore evaluate the impact of a loss-of-function on host cells and gain-of-function on donor cells. We found that lack of IFN-gammaR prevented up-regulation of MHC proteins on host cells but did not mitigate damage to most target organs. Two salient phenotypes in IFN-gammaRKO recipients involved donor cells: lymphoid hypoplasia and hematopoietic failure. Lymphopenia was due to FasL-induced apoptosis and decreased cell proliferation. Bone marrow aplasia resulted from a decreased proliferation of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells that was associated with down-regulation of 2 genes negatively regulated by IFN-gamma: Ccnd1 and Myc. We conclude that IFN-gamma produced by alloreactive T cells may entail a severe graft-versus-graft reaction and could be responsible for cytopenias that are frequently observed in subjects with GVHD.

Blood 2008;112(5):2111-9.

Pubmed ID: 18552211

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