Donor NK cells trigger recipient dendritic cells to synthesize B2M, which stimulates cKIT-L and interleukin-7 production.
Adoptive transfer of ex vivo–expanded donor alloreactive NK cells accelerates post–bone marrow transplant immune reconstitution.
Allogeneic hematopoietic transplantation is a powerful treatment for hematologic malignancies. Posttransplant immune incompetence exposes patients to disease relapse and infections. We previously demonstrated that donor alloreactive natural killer (NK) cells ablate recipient hematopoietic targets, including leukemia. Here, in murine models, we show that infusion of donor alloreactive NK cells triggers recipient dendritic cells (DCs) to synthesize β-2-microglobulin (B2M) that elicits the release of c-KIT ligand and interleukin-7 that greatly accelerate posttransplant immune reconstitution. An identical chain of events was reproduced by infusing supernatants of alloreactive NK/DC cocultures. Similarly, human alloreactive NK cells triggered human DCs to synthesize B2M that induced interleukin-7 production by thymic epithelial cells and thereby supported thymocyte cellularity in vitro. Chromatography fractionation of murine and human alloreactive NK/DC coculture supernatants identified a protein with molecular weight and isoelectric point of B2M, and mass spectrometry identified amino acid sequences specific of B2M. Anti-B2M antibody depletion of NK/DC coculture supernatants abrogated their immune-rebuilding effect. B2M knock-out mice were unable to undergo accelerated immune reconstitution, but infusion of (wild-type) NK/DC coculture supernatants restored their ability to undergo accelerated immune reconstitution. Similarly, silencing the B2M gene in human DCs, before coculture with alloreactive NK cells, prevented the increase in thymocyte cellularity in vitro. Finally, human recombinant B2M increased thymocyte cellularity in a thymic epithelial cells/thymocyte culture system. Our studies uncover a novel therapeutic principle for treating posttransplant immune incompetence and suggest that, upon its translation to the clinic, patients may benefit from adoptive transfer of large numbers of cytokine-activated, ex vivo–expanded donor alloreactive NK cells.
This feature is available to Subscribers OnlySign In or Create an Account Close Modal