Galectin-3 expression in donor T cells reduces GvHD severity and lethality after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation

Hemn Mohammadpour, Takemasa Tsuji, Cameron R. MacDonald, Joseph L. Sarow, Hanna Rosenheck, Saeed Daneshmandi, Jee Eun Choi, Jingxin Qiu, Junko Matsuzaki, Agnieszka K. Witkiewicz, Kristopher Attwood, Bruce R. Blazar, Kunle Odunsi, Elizabeth A. Repasky, Philip L. McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Abundant donor cytotoxic T cells that attack normal host organs remain a major problem for patients receiving allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT). Despite an increase in our knowledge of the pathobiology of acute graft versus host disease (aGvHD), the mechanisms regulating the proliferation and function of donor T cells remain unclear. Here, we show that activated donor T cells express galectin-3 (Gal-3) after allo-HCT. In both major and minor histocompatibility-mismatched models of murine aGvHD, expression of Gal-3 is associated with decreased T cell activation and suppression of the secretion of effector cytokines, including IFN-γ and GM-CSF. Mechanistically, Gal-3 results in activation of NFAT signaling, which can induce T cell exhaustion. Gal-3 overexpression in human T cells prevents severe disease by suppressing cytotoxic T cells in xenogeneic aGvHD models. Together, these data identify the Gal-3-dependent regulatory pathway in donor T cells as a critical component of inflammation in aGvHD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112250
JournalCell reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 28 2023

Bibliographical note

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  • CP: Immunology
  • GI biopsies
  • NFAT
  • T cells
  • allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation
  • galectin-3
  • graft versus host disease
  • retroviral transduction


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