Alleviation of chronic GVHD in mice by oral immuneregulation toward recipient pretransplant splenocytes does not jeopardize the graft versus leukemia effect

Yaron Ilan, Maya Margalit, Meir Ohana, Israel Gotsman, Elazar Rabbani, Dean Engelhardt, Arnon Nagler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chronic graft versus host disease (cGVHD) is the result of an immune-mediated attack by transplanted donor lymphocytes, entailing inflammatory damage to host target organs. Clinically, the post-bone marrow transplantation (BMT) graft versus leukemia (GVL) effect may be associated with GVHD. Immune hyporesponsiveness induced by oral antigen administration has recently been shown to prevent the development of cGVHD in a murine model. To evaluate whether amelioration of cGVHD in mice by induction of oral immune regulation in donors toward recipient pretransplant lymphocyte antigens is associated with attenuation of the GVL effect donor B10.D2 mice were fed with Balb/c splenocytes, B10.D2 splenocytes, bovine serum albumin (BSA), or regular chow, every other day for 10 days. Subsequently, transplantation of 2 × 10 7 splenocytes from donor B10.D2 mice to recipient Balb/c mice was undertaken, followed by inoculation of 3 × 103 BCL-1 leukemia on the day of BMT. Control groups were fed identically without leukemia inoculation. Mice were followed for survival and leukemia progression. Induction of tolerance was assessed by a mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR). Cutaneous GVHD was assessed macroscopically. To elucidate the mechanism of any observed effect, serum interferon (IFN), interleukin (IL-2), IL-12, IL-4, and IL-10 were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and flow cytometry analysis for CD4+, CD8+, and NK1.1+ lymphocyte subpopulations was performed. There was no significant difference in leukemia progression manifested by survival or white blood cell counts of orally immune-regulated mice compared with control animals. Cutaneous cGVHD was significantly ameliorated in Balb/c mice transplanted from tolerized B10.D2 mice. This effect was associated with a significant reduction in the mixed lymphocyte response of effector splenocytes from tolerized B10.D2 mice against Balb/c target splenocytes; significantly decreased serum IFN-γ and IL-2; increased serum IL-12 levels; increased peripheral NK1.1+ cells; and CD4+/CD8+ lymphocyte ratio. Oral tolerization of BMT donors toward recipient antigens ameliorates cGVHD without hampering the GVL effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-240
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone marrow transplantation
  • Graft versus host disease
  • Graft versus leukemia
  • Oral immune regulation


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