Anti-Interleukin-6 Promotes Allogeneic Bone Marrow Engraftment and Prolonged Graft Survival in an Irradiation-Free Murine Transplant Model.
ABSTRACT: Transfer of recipient regulatory T cells (Tregs) induces mixed chimerism and tolerance in an irradiation-free bone marrow (BM) transplantation (BMT) model involving short-course co-stimulation blockade and mTOR inhibition. Boosting endogenous Tregs pharmacologically in vivo would be an attractive alternative avoiding the current limitations of performing adoptive cell therapy in the routine clinical setting. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) potently inhibits Treg differentiation and its blockade was shown to increase Treg numbers in vivo. Therefore, we investigated whether IL-6 blockade can replace adoptive Treg transfer in irradiation-free allogeneic BMT. Treatment with anti-IL-6 instead of Treg transfer led to multi-lineage chimerism (persisting for ~12 weeks) in recipients of fully mismatched BM and significantly prolonged donor skin (MST 58 days) and heart (MST > 100 days) graft survival. Endogenous Foxp3+ Tregs expanded in anti-IL-6-treated BMT recipients, while dendritic cell (DC) activation and memory CD8+ T cell development were inhibited. Adding anti-IL-17 to anti-IL-6 treatment increased Treg frequencies, but did not further prolong donor skin graft survival significantly. These results demonstrate that IL-6 blockade promotes BM engraftment and donor graft survival in non-irradiated recipients and might provide an alternative to Treg cell therapy in the clinical setting.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Infusion of recipient regulatory T (Treg) cells promotes durable mixed hematopoietic chimerism and allograft tolerance in mice receiving allogeneic bone marrow transplant (BMT) with minimal conditioning. We applied this strategy in a Cynomolgus macaque model. METHODS:CD4 CD25 Treg cells that were polyclonally expanded in culture were highly suppressive in vitro and maintained high expression of FoxP3. Eight monkeys underwent nonmyeloablative conditioning and major histocompatibility complex mismatched BMT with or without Treg cell infusion. Renal transplantation (from the same BMT donor) was performed 4 months post-BMT without immunosuppression to assess for robust donor-specific tolerance. RESULTS:Transient mixed chimerism, without significant T cell chimerism, was achieved in the animals that received BMT without Treg cells (N = 3). In contrast, 2 of 5 recipients of Treg cell BMT that were evaluable displayed chimerism in all lineages, including T cells, for up to 335 days post-BMT. Importantly, in the animal that survived long-term, greater than 90% of donor T cells were CD45RA CD31, suggesting they were new thymic emigrants. In this animal, the delayed (to 4 months) donor kidney graft was accepted more than 294 days without immunosuppression, whereas non-Treg cell BMT recipients rejected delayed donor kidneys within 3 to 4 weeks. Early CMV reactivation and treatment was associated with early failure of chimerism, regardless of Treg cell administration. CONCLUSIONS:Our studies provide proof-of-principle that, in the absence of early CMV reactivation (and BM-toxic antiviral therapy), cotransplantation of host Treg cell can promote prolonged and high levels of multilineage allogeneic chimerism and robust tolerance to the donor.
Project description:Vascularized composite allotransplantation (VCA) has become a valid therapeutic option to restore form and function after devastating tissue loss. However, the need for high-dose multidrug immunosuppression to maintain allograft survival is still hampering more widespread application of VCA. In this study, we investigated the immunoregulatory potential of costimulation blockade (CoB; CTLA4-Ig and anti-CD154 mAb) combined with nonmyeoablative total body irradiation (TBI) to promote allograft survival of VCA in a fully MHC-mismatched mouse model of orthotopic hind limb transplantation. Compared with untreated controls (median survival time [MST] 8 days) and CTLA4-Ig treatment alone (MST 17 days), CoB treatment increased graft survival (MST 82 days), and the addition of nonmyeloablative TBI led to indefinite graft survival (MST > 210 days). Our analysis suggests that VCA-derived BM induced mixed chimerism in animals treated with CoB and TBI + CoB, promoting gradual deletion of alloreactive T cells as the underlying mechanism of long-term allograft survival. Acceptance of donor-matched secondary skin grafts, decreased ex vivo T cell responsiveness, and increased graft-infiltrating Tregs further indicated donor-specific tolerance induced by TBI + CoB. In summary, our data suggest that vascularized BM-containing VCAs are immunologically favorable grafts promoting chimerism induction and long-term allograft survival in the context of CoB.
Project description:Purpose of Review:The mixed chimerism approach is an exceptionally potent strategy for the induction of donor-specific tolerance in organ transplantation and so far the only one that was demonstrated to work in the clinical setting. Regulatory T cells (Tregs) have been shown to improve chimerism induction in experimental animal models. This review summarizes the development of innovative BMT protocols using therapeutic Treg transfer for tolerance induction. Recent Findings:Treg cell therapy promotes BM engraftment in reduced conditioning protocols in both, mice and non-human primates. In mice, transfer of polyclonal recipient Tregs was sufficient to substitute cytotoxic recipient conditioning. Treg therapy prevented chronic rejection of skin and heart allografts related to tissue-specific antigen disparities, in part by promoting intragraft Treg accumulation. Summary:Adoptive Treg transfer is remarkably effective in facilitating BM engraftment in reduced-intensity protocols in mice and non-human primates. Furthermore, it promotes regulatory mechanisms that prevent chronic rejection.
Project description:The relationship between regulatory T cells (Tregs) and acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) in clinical allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) recipients is not well established. We conducted a prospective analysis of peripheral blood Tregs as determined by the frequency of CD4(+)CD25(hi)FOXP3(+) lymphocytes in 215 BMT patients. Autologous BMT patients (N = 90) and allogeneic BMT patients without GVHD (N = 65) had similar Treg frequencies, whereas allogeneic patients with GVHD (N = 60) had Treg frequencies that were 40% less than those without GVHD. Treg frequencies decreased linearly with increasing grades of GVHD at onset, and correlated with eventual maximum grade of GVHD (P < .001). In addition, frequency of Tregs at onset of GVHD predicted the response to GVHD treatment (P = .003). Patients with Treg frequencies less than the median had higher nonrelapse mortality (NRM) than patients with Tregs greater than the median, but experienced equivalent relapse mortality, resulting in an inferior survival at 2 years (38% versus 63%, P = .03). Treg frequency may therefore have important prognostic value as a biomarker of aGVHD.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Renal allograft tolerance (TOL) has been successfully induced in nonhuman primates (NHPs) and humans through the induction of transient mixed chimerism. To elucidate the mechanisms of TOL, we compared local immunologic responses in renal allografts with those in T-cell-mediated rejection (TCMR) and chronic antibody-mediated rejection (CAMR) in NHPs. METHODS:Using the NanoString nCounter platform, we retrospectively studied 52 mRNAs in 256 kidney allograft samples taken from NHP kidney recipients of donor BMT. No immunosuppression was given after 1-month post-donor BMT. Recipients who achieved TOL (n?=?13) survived for >1840 ± 1724 days with normal kidney function, while recipients with CAMR (n?=?13) survived for 899 ± 550 days with compromised graft function, and recipients with TCMR (n?=?15) achieved only short-term survival (132 ± 69 days). RESULTS:The most prominent difference between the groups was FOXP3, which was significantly higher in TOL than in CAMR and TCMR, both early (<1 y, P?<?0.01) and late (?1 y, P?<?0.05) after transplant. Other mRNAs related to regulatory T cells (Treg), such as IL10, TGFB, and GATA3, were also high in TOL. In contrast, transcripts of inflammatory cytokines were higher in TCMR, while activated endothelium-associated transcripts were higher in CAMR than in TOL. The receiver operating characteristic analyses revealed that intragraft FOXP3 and CAV1 can reliably distinguish TOL from CAMR. CONCLUSIONS:High FOXP3 and other Treg-related mRNAs together with suppressed inflammatory responses and endothelial activation in renal allografts suggest that intragraft enrichment of Treg is a critical mechanism of renal allograft TOL induced by transient mixed chimerism.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4> Within the bone marrow (BM), mature T cells are maintained under homeostatic conditions to facilitate proper hematopoietic development. This homeostasis depends upon a peculiar elevated frequency of regulatory T cells (Tregs) and immune regulatory activities from BM-mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs). In response to BM transplantation (BMT), the conditioning regimen exposes the BM to a dramatic induction of inflammatory cytokines and causes an unbalanced T-effector (Teff) and Treg ratio. This imbalance negatively impacts hematopoiesis, particularly in regard to B-cell lymphopoiesis that requires an intact cross-talk between BM-MSCs and Tregs. The mechanisms underlying the ability of BM-MSCs to restore Treg homeostasis and proper B-cell development are currently unknown. <h4>Methods</h4> We studied the role of host radio-resistant cell-derived CD40 in restoring Teff/Treg homeostasis and proper B-cell development in a murine model of BMT. We characterized the host cellular source of CD40 and performed radiation chimera analyses by transplanting WT or Cd40-KO with WT BM in the presence of T-reg and co-infusing WT or - Cd40-KO BM-MSCs. Residual host and donor T cell expansion and activation (cytokine production) and also the expression of Treg fitness markers and conversion to Th17 were analyzed. The presence of Cd40+ BM-MSCs was analyzed in a human setting in correlation with the frequency of B-cell precursors in patients who underwent HSCT and variably developed acute graft-versus-host (aGVDH) disease. <h4>Results</h4> CD40 expression is nearly undetectable in the BM, yet a Cd40-KO recipient of WT donor chimera exhibited impaired B-cell lymphopoiesis and Treg development. Lethal irradiation promotes CD40 and OX40L expression in radio-resistant BM-MSCs through the induction of pro-inflammatory cytokines. OX40L favors Teff expansion and activation at the expense of Tregs; however, the expression of CD40 dampens OX40L expression and restores Treg homeostasis, thus facilitating proper B-cell development. Indeed, in contrast to dendritic cells in secondary lymphoid organs that require CD40 triggers to express OX40L, BM-MSCs require CD40 to inhibit OX40L expression. <h4>Conclusions</h4> CD40+ BM-MSCs are immune regulatory elements within BM. Loss of CD40 results in uncontrolled T cell activation due to a reduced number of Tregs, and B-cell development is consequently impaired. GVHD provides an example of how a loss of CD40+ BM-MSCs and a reduction in B-cell precursors may occur in a human setting.
Project description:Fanconi anemia (FA) is a genetic disorder associated with bone marrow (BM) failure and leukemia. Recent studies demonstrate variable immune defects in FA. However, the cause for FA immunodeficiency is unknown. Here we report that deletion of Fanca or Fancd2 dysregulates the suppressive activity of regulatory T cells (Tregs), shown functionally as exacerbation of graft-vs-host disease (GVHD) in mice. Recipient mice of Fanca(-/-) or Fancd2(-/-) BM chimeras exhibited severe acute GVHD after allogeneic BM transplantation (BMT). T cells from Fanca(-/-) or Fancd2(-/-) mice induced higher GVHD lethality than those from wild-type (WT) littermates. FA Tregs possessed lower proliferative suppression potential compared with WT Tregs, as demonstrated by in vitro proliferation assay and BMT. Analysis of CD25(+)Foxp3(+) Tregs indicated that loss of Fanca or Fancd2 dysregulated Foxp3 target gene expression. Additionally, CD25(+)Foxp3(+) Tregs of Fanca(-/-) or Fancd2(-/-) mice were less efficient in suppressing the production of GVHD-associated inflammatory cytokines. Consistently, aberrant NF-?B activity was observed in infiltrated T cells from FA GVHD mice. Conditional deletion of p65 in FA Tregs decreased GVHD mortality. Our study uncovers an essential role for FA proteins in maintaining Treg homeostasis, possibly explaining, at least in part, the immune deficiency reported in some FA patients.
Project description:Although CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells (T regulatory cells [Tregs]) and natural killer T cells (NKT cells) each protect against graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), interactions between these 2 regulatory cell populations after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) have not been studied. We show that host NKT cells can induce an in vivo expansion of donor Tregs that prevents lethal GVHD in mice after conditioning with fractionated lymphoid irradiation (TLI) and anti-T-cell antibodies, a regimen that models human GVHD-protective nonmyeloablative protocols using TLI and antithymocyte globulin (ATG), followed by allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). GVHD protection was lost in NKT-cell-deficient Jalpha18(-/-) hosts and interleukin-4 (IL-4)(-/-) hosts, or when the donor transplant was Treg depleted. Add-back of donor Tregs or wild-type host NKT cells restored GVHD protection. Donor Treg proliferation was lost in IL-4(-/-) hosts or when IL-4(-/-) mice were used as the source of NKT cells for adoptive transfer, indicating that host NKT cell augmentation of donor Treg proliferation after TLI/antithymocyte serum is IL-4 dependent. Our results demonstrate that host NKT cells and donor Tregs can act synergistically after BMT, and provide a mechanism by which strategies designed to preserve host regulatory cells can augment in vivo donor Treg expansion to regulate GVHD after allogeneic HCT.
Project description:Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) continues to be a serious complication that limits the success of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT). Using IL-7-deficient murine models, we have previously shown that IL-7 is necessary for the pathogenesis of GVHD. In the present study, we determined whether GVHD could be prevented by antibody-mediated blockade of IL-7 receptor alpha (IL-7Ralpha) signaling. C57/BL6 (H2K(b)) recipient mice were lethally irradiated and underwent cotransplantation with T-cell-depleted (TCD) BM and lymph node (LN) cells from allogeneic BALB/c (H2K(d)) donor mice. Following transplantation, the allogeneic BMT recipients were injected weekly with either anti-IL-7Ralpha antibody (100 mug per mouse per week) or PBS for 4 weeks. Anti-IL-7Ralpha antibody treatment significantly decreased GVHD-related morbidity and mortality compared with placebo (30% to 80%). IL-7Ralpha blockade resulted in the reduction of donor CD4(+) or CD8(+) T cells in the periphery by day 30 after transplantation. Paradoxically, the inhibition of GVHD by anti-IL-7Ralpha antibody treatment resulted in improved long-term thymic and immune function. Blockade of IL-7R by anti-IL-7Ralpha antibody resulted in elimination of alloreactive T cells, prevention of GVHD, and improvement of donor T-cell reconstitution.
Project description:<b>Background:</b> The induction of donor-specific immunological tolerance could improve outcome after kidney transplantation. However, no tolerance protocol is available for routine clinical use. Chimerism-based regimens hold promise, but their widespread application is impeded in part by unresolved safety issues. This study tests the hypothesis that therapy with polyclonal recipient regulatory T cells (Tregs) and anti-IL6R (tocilizumab) leads to transient chimerism and achieves pro-tolerogenic immunomodulation in kidney transplant recipients also receiving donor bone marrow (BM) without myelosuppressive conditioning of the recipient. <b>Methods/design:</b> A prospective, open-label, controlled, single-center, phase I/IIa academic study is performed in HLA-mismatched living donor kidney transplant recipients. <b>Study group:</b> Recipients of the study group receive <i>in vitro</i> expanded recipient Tregs and a donor bone marrow cell infusion within 3 days after transplantation and tocilizumab for the first 3 weeks post-transplant. In addition they are treated with thymoglobulin, belatacept, sirolimus, and steroids as immunosuppression. Starting 6 months post-transplant, sirolimus and steroids are withdrawn in a step-wise manner in stable patients. <b>Control group:</b> Recipients of the control group are treated with thymoglobulin, belatacept, sirolimus, and steroids as immunosuppression. <b>Co-primary endpoints</b> of safety (impaired graft function [eGFR <35 mL/min/1.73 m<sup>2</sup>], graft-vs.-host disease or patient death by 12 months) and efficacy (total leukocyte donor chimerism within 28 days post-transplant) are assessed. <b>Secondary endpoints</b> include frequency of biopsy-proven acute rejection episodes and subclinical rejection episodes on surveillance biopsies, assessment of kidney graft function, and the evaluation whether the study protocol leads to detectable changes in the immune system indicative of pro-tolerogenic immune modulation. <b>Discussion:</b> The results of this trial will provide evidence whether treatment with recipient Tregs and donor BM is feasible, safe and efficacious in leading to transient chimerism. If successful, this combination cell therapy has the potential to become a novel treatment option for immunomodulation in organ transplantation without the toxicities associated with myelosuppressive recipient conditioning. <b>Trial registration:</b> European Clinical Trials Database EudraCT Nr 2018-003142-16 and clinicaltrials.gov NCT03867617.