We have recently found that intra-bone marrow-bone marrow transplantation (IBM-BMT) can be used to prevent graft-versus-host disease (GvHD), even when intensive donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI) is carried out. In the present study, in conjunction with IBM-BMT, allogeneic splenic T cells as DLI were also injected into the bone marrow cavity of lethally irradiated (8.5 Gy) recipients. The extent of GvHD was compared with that of recipients that had received allogeneic IBM-BMT plus i.v. injection of allogeneic T cells (intravenous DLI [IV-DLI]). GvHD in recipients treated with allogeneic IBM-BMT plus IBM-DLI was far milder than in those treated with allogeneic IBM-BMT plus IV-DLI. This was confirmed macroscopically and histopathologically. The frequency of regulatory T cells (Tregs) detected as CD4+CD25+ and CD4+Foxp3+ cells was significantly higher in recipients treated with IBM-BMT plus IBM-DLI than in those treated with IBM-BMT plus IV-DLI. Donor-derived helper T (Th) cells polarized to Th2 type in recipients treated with IBM-BMT plus IBM-DLI, whereas Th1 cells were dominant in recipients treated with IBM-BMT plus IV-DLI. Furthermore, the production of transforming growth factor-β and hepatocyte growth factor from bone marrow stromal cells was enhanced after IBM-DLI. Thus, IBM-BMT plus IBM-DLI seem to preferentially induce Tregs and Th2, resulting in the prevention of GvHD.
Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest is found at the end of this article.