Pharmacologic inhibition of PKCa & PKCu prevents GVHD while preserving GVL activity in mice

Kelley M K Haarberg, Jun Li, Jessica Heinrichs, Dapeng Wang, Chen Liu, Crystina C. Bronk, Kane Kaosaard, Alexander M. Owyang, Sacha Holland, Esteban Masuda, Kin Tso, Bruce R. Blazar, Claudio Anasetti, Amer A. Beg, Xue Zhong Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is the most effective therapy for hematopoietic malignancies through T-cell-mediated graft-vs-leukemia (GVL) effects but often leads to severe graft-vs-host disease (GVHD). Given that protein kinase Cu (PKCθ), in cooperation with PKCα , is essential for T-cell signaling and function, we have evaluated PKCθ and PKCα as potential therapeutic targets in allogeneic HCT using genetic and pharmacologic approaches. We found that the ability of PKCα-/--/- donor T cells to induce GVHD was further reduced compared with PKCθ -/- T cells in relation with the relevance of both isoforms to allogeneic donor T-cell proliferation, cytokine production, andmigration to GVHD target organs. Treatment with a specific inhibitor for both PKCθ and PKCα impaired donor T-cell proliferation, migration, and chemokine/cytokine production and significantly decreased GVHD in myeloablative preclinical murine models of allogeneic HCT. Moreover, pharmacologic inhibition of PKCθ and PKCα spared T-cell cytotoxic function and GVL effects. Our findings indicate that PKCα and u contribute to T-cell activation with overlapping functions essential for GVHD induction while less critical to the GVL effect. Thus, targeting PKCα and PKCθ signaling with pharmacologic inhibitors presents a therapeutic option for GVHD prevention while largely preserving the GVL activity in patients receiving HCT. (Blood. 2013;122(14):2500-2511).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2500-2511
Number of pages12
Issue number14
StatePublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute (R01s CA11816, CA143812, and AI 082685) (X.-Z.Y.) (R01 CA72669) (B.R.B.).

Publisher Copyright:
©2013 by The American Society of Hematology.


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