Host NKT cells can prevent graft-versus-host disease and permit graft antitumor activity after bone marrow transplantation

Asha B. Pillai, Tracy I. George, Suparna Dutt, Pearline Teo, Samuel Strober

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

94 Scopus citations


Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation is a curative treatment for leukemia and lymphoma, but graft-vs-host disease (GVHD) remains a major complication. Using a GVHD protective nonmyeloablative conditioning regimen of total lymphoid irradiation and antithymocyte serum (TLI/ATS) in mice that has been recently adapted to clinical studies, we show that regulatory host NKT cells prevent the expansion and tissue inflammation induced by donor T cells, but allow retention of the killing activity of donor T cells against the BCL1 B cell lymphoma. Whereas wild-type hosts given transplants from wild-type donors were protected against progressive tumor growth and lethal GVHD, NKT cell-deficient CD1d-/- and Jα-18-/- host mice given wild-type transplants cleared the tumor cells but died of GVHD. In contrast, wild-type hosts given transplants from CB8-/- or perforin-/- donors had progressive tumor growth without GVHD. Injection of host-type NKT cells into Jα-18-/- host mice conditioned with TLI/ATS markedly reduced the early expansion and colon injury induced by donor T cells. In conclusion, after TLI/ATS host conditioning and allogeneic bone marrow transplantation, host NKT cells can separate the proinflammatory and tumor cytolytic functions of donor T cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6242-6251
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2007
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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