INTERLEUKIN-12 PREVENTS SEVERE ACUTE GRAFT-VERSUS-HOST DISEASE (GVHD) AND GVHD-ASSOCIATED IMMUNE DYSFUNCTION IN A FULLY MAJOR HISTOCOMPATIBILITY COMPLEX HAPLOTYPE-MISMATCHED MURINE BONE MARROW TRANSPLANTATION MODEL1


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Abstract

Background.We have recently reported that interleukin (IL)-12 prevents acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD)-induced mortality in a full major histocompatibility complex- plus multiple minor antigen-mismatched A/J→B10 bone marrow transplantation (BMT) model. Because most patients have access to a haploidentical, one haplotype-mismatched donor, we have now investigated the protective effect of IL-12 against GVHD and GVHD-associated immune dysfunction in a haploidentical CBD2F1(H2kxd) → B6D2F1(H2bxd) strain combination.Methods.GVHD was induced by injecting CBD2F1 marrow and spleen cells into lethally irradiated B6D2F1 mice.Results.In untreated control mice, GVHD resulted in 87% mortality by day 8 after BMT, with no survivors beyond day 17. Treatment with a single injection of IL-12 on the day of BMT led to 87% long-term survival, with no significant weight loss, diarrhea or GVHD skin changes. The majority of T cells recovering in these mice showed the CD62L+, CD44low, CD45RBhighnaive phenotype. These T cells showed specific tolerance to both host and donor histocompatibility antigens, but normal anti-third party(H2s) alloresponses in vitro. B-cell proliferative responses to lipopolysaccharide were also normal in IL-12-protected mice. Moreover, normal negative selection of thymocytes bearing T cell receptors with Vβ that recognize endogenous superantigens was observed among CD4+CD8-thymocytes, indicating a lack of GVHD-associated thymic selection abnormalities in IL-12-protected allogeneic BMT recipients.Conclusions.IL-12 provides permanent protection against an otherwise severe, rapidly lethal GVHD, with no clinical manifestations of chronic GVHD, immunosuppression or autoimmune features, in a full major histocompatibility complex haplotype-mismatched murine BMT model.

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