Abstract

Background: CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cell has been found to play an important role in suppressing allogenetic immune response and controlling GVHD recently. Our study was to explore the reconstitution of CD4+CD25high regulatory T cells early after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation(allo-HSCT), and to evaluate its role in the development of acute Graft-versus- host disease(aGVHD)

Methods :27 patients undergoing allo-HSCT were enrolled. Detect the CD4+CD25high T cells subpopulation ratios in CD4+ T lymphocytes(CD4+CD25high/CD4+)with Flow cytometry, and the expression of FOXP3 mRNA with Real-time PCR assays in the donor grafts and periperal blood frequently after transplantation(at 2 weeks,1 month,2 month,3 month post-transpant,at the onset of aGVHD,and when aGVHD was controlled.).

Results:

  1. In without aGVHD group, the CD4+CD25high/CD4+ ratio increased significantly at 2 weeks post-transplant, and decreased later(P<0.05); the expression of FOXP3 increased significantly early after transplantation, but remained below the healthy-control level within 3 months after transplantation(P<0.05).

  2. In aGVHD-group, the CD4+CD25high/CD4+ ratio also increased significantly at 2 weeks post-transplant,but exhibited no decrease tendency later(P<0.05);moreover the expression of FOXP3 remained low(P<0.05),and was lower than the without-aGVHD-group at 1∼3month post-transplant(P<0.05).

  3. At the onset of aGVHD, the CD4+CD25+ /CD4+ and the CD4+CD25high/CD4+ ratios were both higher than the healthy control and without-aGVHD group(P<0.05),but the expression of FOXP3 were lower than that of healthy control and without-aGVHD group(P<0.05);when aGVHD was controlled, the expression of FOXP3 raised compared with that at the onset of aGVHD(P=0.025), also the CD4+CD25high/CD4+ ratio exhibited an increase tendency(P=0.050).

Conlusion:

  1. The CD4+CD25high regulatory T cells subpopulation undergo a significant expansion early after transplantation, but its complete reconstitution is a long-term process.

  2. The lower number of CD4+CD25high regulatory T cells and/or their lower expression of FOXP3 gene may be related with the development of aGVHD.

Author notes

Disclosure: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.