Flt3 ligand (FL) is a hematopoietic cytokine that has been shown to facilitate the expansion of dendritic cells (DCs) and the generation of antitumor immune responses. In addition, the use of FL in mobilizing peripheral blood progenitor cells is being investigated. In the present study, we sought to quantify the influence of FL-treated donor cells on graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). FL treatment resulted in a marked expansion in the absolute number of myeloid- and lymphoid-related DCs and a reduction in the proportion of donor splenic T cells. Irradiated recipients who were given splenocytes from FL-treated donors had reduced GVHD lethality compared with controls due to the infusion of fewer mature T cells. Highly purified T cells from FL-treated donors produced comparable in vitro alloresponses and there was no evidence of a skewing toward T-helper type 1 (interleukin [IL]-2, interferon-γ) or T-helper type 2 (IL-4, IL-10) cytokine production. The GVHD lethality associated with purified T cells obtained from FL-treated or control donors was comparable. In contrast, FL treatment of recipients resulted in a significant increase in GVHD lethality. Increased lethality was observed even when the infusions of allogeneic T cells and FL were delayed until 3 weeks post-bone marrow transplantation (BMT). Our data indicate that FL treatment of donors does not increase GVHD risk, but treatment of recipients increases GVH lethality even if FL treatment is delayed until later post-BMT.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Supported in part by the Children’s Cancer Research Fund and National Institutes of Health grants R01 CA72669, R01 AI 34495, and R01 HL-63452
- Flt3 ligand
- GVHD lethality
- Graft-versus-host disease