High frequency of CD4+CD25CD69+T cells is correlated with a low risk of acute graft-versus-host disease in allotransplants


  • Conflict of interest: All the authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author: Xiao-Jun Huang, MD, Professor of Peking University Institute of Hematology, Peking University People's Hospital, No. 11 Xizhimen South Street, Beijing 100044, China.

Tel.: 86 010 88326006; fax: 86 010 88324577; e-mail: xjhrm@medmail.com.cn


Regulatory T cells (Tregs) maintain transplantation tolerance and suppress graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) in humans. We monitored 17 subjects with acute GvHD to determine whether Treg frequency correlates with acute GvHD. We found the percent of CD4+CD25CD69+ Tregs decreases when acute GvHD develops and increases after acute GvHD is controlled. We next sequentially studied 50 subjects receiving conventional allotransplants. We show a high frequency and increased numbers of CD4+CD25CD69+ Tregs are associated with a reduced risk of acute GvHD. We also show that CD4+CD25CD69+ Treg numbers increase substantially early after allografts and that a low percent of CD4+CD25CD69+Tregs is associated with an increased risk of acute GvHD. Reconstitution of Tregs early post-transplant is associated with less acute GvHD. These data imply that CD4+CD25CD69+ Tregs are a novel subset of regulatory T cells that may protect against acute GvHD after allotransplants.