Adoptive therapy with regulatory T cells (Tregs) to prevent graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) would benefit from a strategy to improve homing to the sites of inflammation. We hypothesized that adding fucose to human Tregs, forming the Sialyl Lewis X moiety on P-selectin glycoprotein ligand-1, would improve their trafficking pattern. The selectin pathway recruiter, α-1,3-fucosyltransferase-VI enzyme, significantly increased Treg surface fucosylation (66% vs 8%). In a xenogenic GVHD mouse model, fucosylated Tregs showed prolonged periods of in vivo persistence. When given at a lower dose compared with the untreated Tregs, the murine recipients of fucosylated Tregs maintained weight, had ameliorated clinical GVHD, and improved survival (70% vs 30%; P < .0001). These preclinical data indicate that fucosylated human Tregs is an effective strategy for prevention of GVHD and, as such, warrants consideration for future clinical trials.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work has been supported by the Anderson Cancer Center Start Up Funds and Lee Clark Award grants R01 HL11879, P01 CA065493, CA142106, and AI056299.