A New Window into the Human Alloresponse


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Abstract

Alloreactive T lymphocytes are the primary mediators of allograft rejection. The size and diversity of the HLA-alloreactive T cell repertoire has thus far precluded the ability to follow these T cells and thereby to understand their fate in human transplant recipients. This review summarizes the history, challenges, and recent advances in the study of alloreactive T cells. We highlight the historical development of assays to measure alloreactivity and discuss how high-throughput T cell receptor (TCR) sequencing-based assays can provide a new window into the fate of alloreactive T cells in human transplant recipients. A specific approach combining a classical in vitro assay, the mixed lymphocyte reaction, with deep T cell receptor sequencing is described as a tool to track the donor-reactive T cell repertoire for any specific HLA-mismatched donor-recipient pair. This assay can provide mechanistic insights and has potential as a noninvasive, highly specific biomarker for rejection and tolerance.

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