Adult thymus transplantation with allogeneic intra-bone marrow-bone marrow transplantation from same donor induces high thymopoiesis, mild graft-versus-host reaction and strong graft-versus-tumour effects

Takashi Miyake, Naoki Hosaka, Wenhao Cui, Teruhisa Nishida, Takashi Takaki, Muneo Inaba, Yasuo Kamiyama, Susumu Ikehara
Immunology 2009, 126 (4): 552-64
Although allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) plus donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI) is performed for solid tumours to enhance graft-versus-tumour (GVT) effects, a graft-versus-host reaction (GVHR) is also elicited. We carried out intra-bone marrow-bone marrow transplantation (IBM-BMT) plus adult thymus transplantation (ATT) from the same donor to supply alloreactive T cells continually. Normal mice treated with IBM-BMT + ATT survived for a long time with high donor-derived thymopoiesis and mild GVHR. The percentage of CD4(+) FoxP3(+) regulatory T cells in the spleen of the mice treated with IBM-BMT + ATT was lower than in normal B6 mice or mice treated with IBM-BMT alone, but higher than in mice treated with IBM-BMT + DLI; the mice treated with IBM-BMT + DLI showed severe GVHR. In tumour-bearing mice, tumour growth was more strongly inhibited by IBM-BMT + ATT than by IBM-BMT alone. Mice treated with IBM-BMT + a high dose of DLI also showed tumour regression comparable to that of mice treated with IBM-BMT + ATT but died early of GVHD. By contrast, mice treated with IBM-BMT + a low dose of DLI showed longer survival but less tumour regression than the mice treated with IBM-BMT + ATT. Histologically, significant numbers of CD8(+) T cells were found to have infiltrated the tumour in the mice treated with IBM-BMT + ATT. The number of terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick end-labelling (TUNEL)-positive apoptotic tumour cells also significantly increased in the mice treated with IBM-BMT + ATT. Allogeneic IBM-BMT + ATT thus can induce high thymopoiesis, preserving strong GVT effects without severe GVHR.

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