Improved NK Cell Recovery Following Use of PTCy or Treg Expanded Donors in Experimental MHC-Matched Allogeneic HSCT

Dietlinde Wolf, Henry Barreras, Sabrina N. Copsel, Krishna V. Komanduri, Robert B Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) is complicated by graft- versus-host disease (GVHD), which causes immune dysfunction and further delays immune reconstitution through its effects on primary and secondary lymphoid organs. Treatments to prevent GVHD and improve immune recovery following allo-HSCT are needed. Post-transplantation cyclophosphamide (PTCy) is a well-established and clinically widely used method for GVHD prophylaxis after HLA-matched as well as haploidentical allo-HSCT, as well as a promising strategy in the setting of mismatched unrelated donor allo-HSCT. Recently, regulatory T cells (Tregs), a critical subset for immune homeostasis and tolerance induction, have been evaluated for use as GVHD prophylaxis in experimental models and clinical trials. Natural killer (NK) cells are one of the first lymphoid populations to reconstitute following allo-HSCT and are important mediators of protective immunity against pathogens, and are also critical for limiting post-transplantation relapse of hematologic cancers. Several reports have noted that a delay in NK cell recovery may occur following experimental mouse allo-HSCT as well as after clinical allo-HSCT. Here we examined how 2 treatment strategies, PTCy and donor expanded Tregs (TrED), in experimental MHC-matched allo-HSCT affect NK recovery. Our experiments show that both strategies improved NK cell numbers, with PTCy slightly better than TrED, early after allo-HSCT (1 month) compared with untreated allo-HSCT recipients. Importantly, NK cell IFN-γ production and cytotoxic function, as reflected by CD107 expression as well as in vivo killing of NK-sensitive tumor cells, were improved using either PTCy or TrED versus control allo-HSCT recipients. In conclusion, both prophylactic treatments were found to be beneficial for NK recovery and NK cell function following MHC-matched minor antigen-mismatched experimental allo-HSCT. Improved NK recovery could help provide early immunity toward tumors and pathogens in these transplant recipients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTransplantation and Cellular Therapy
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
  • Graft-versus-host disease
  • IL-2
  • Natural killer cell
  • Post-transplantation cyclophosphamide
  • Regulatory T cell
  • TL1A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Transplantation
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Medicine


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