- AMER ASSOC IMMUNOLOGISTS
Chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a major cause of late death and morbidity after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation, but its pathogenesis remains unclear. We investigated the role of the programmed death-1 (PD-1) pathway in chronic GVHD using a well-defined mouse model of B10.D2 (H-2(d)) donor to BALB/c (H-2(d)) recipients. PD-1 expression on allogeneic donor T cells was upregulated continuously in chronic GVHD development, whereas PD-L1 expression in host tissues was transiently upregulated and declined to basal levels in the late posttransplant period. Blockade of the PD-1 pathway by anti-PD-1, anti-PD-L1, or anti-PD-L2 mAbs exacerbated clinical and pathologic chronic GVHD. Chimeric mice revealed that PD-L1 expression in host tissues suppressed expansion of IL-17(+)IFN-gamma(+) T cells, and that PD-L1 expression on hematopoietic cells plays a role in the development of regulatory T cells only during the early transplantation period but does not affect the severity of chronic GVHD. Administration of the synthetic retinoid Am80 overcame the IL-17(+)IFN-gamma(+) T cell expansion caused by PD-L1 deficiency, resulting in reduced chronic GVHD damage in PD-L1(-/-) recipients. Stimulation of the PD-1 pathway also alleviated chronic GVHD. These results suggest that the PD-1 pathway contributes to the suppression of Th17/Th1-mediated chronic GVHD and may represent a new target for the prevention or treatment of chronic GVHD.
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