Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) following bone marrow transplantation (BMT) is mediated by alloreactive donor T lymphocytes. Migration and activation of donor-derived T lymphocytes play critical roles in the development of GVHD. Leukocyte function-associated antigen-1 (LFA-1) regulates T cell adhesion and activation. We previously demonstrated that the I-domain, the ligand-binding site of LFA-1, changes from the low-affinity state to the high-affinity state on LFA-1 activation. Therapeutic antagonists, such as statins, inhibit LFA-1 activation and immune responses by modulating the affinity state of the LFA-1 I-domain. In the present study, we report that lovastatin blocked mouse T cell adhesion, proliferation, and cytokine production in vitro. Furthermore, blocking LFA-1 in the low-affinity state with lovastatin reduced the mortality and morbidity associated with GVHD in a murine BMT model. Specifically, lovastatin prevented T lymphocytes from homing to lymph nodes and Peyer's patches during the GVHD initiation phase and after donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI) after the establishment of GVHD. In addition, treatment with lovastatin impaired donor-derived T cell proliferation in vivo. Taken together, these results indicate the important role of lovastatin in the treatment of GVHD.
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