International Journal of Hematology

DOI: 10.1007/s12185-016-2161-5 Pages: 153-161

Harnessing bone marrow resident regulatory T cells to improve allogeneic stem cell transplant outcomes

1. QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, The Antigen Presentation and Immunoregulation Laboratory

Correspondence to:
Kelli P. A. MacDonald



Regulatory T cells (Treg) are a suppressive T cell population which play a crucial role in the establishment of tolerance after stem cell transplantation (SCT) by controlling the effector T cell responses that drive acute and chronic GVHD. The BM compartment is enriched in a highly suppressive, activated/memory autophagy-dependent Treg population, which contributes to the HSC engraftment and the control of GVHD. G-CSF administration releases Treg from the BM through disruption of the CXCR4/SDF-1 axis and further improves Treg survival following SCT through the induction of autophagy. However, AMD3100 is more efficacious in mobilizing these Treg highlighting the potential for optimized mobilization regimes to produce more tolerogenic grafts. Notably, the disruption of adhesive interaction between integrins and their ligands contributes to HSC mobilization and may be relevant for BM Treg. Importantly, the Tregs in the BM niche contribute to maintenance of the HSC niche and appear required for optimal control of GVHD post-transplant. Although poorly studied, the BM Treg appear phenotypically and functionally unique to Treg in the periphery. Understanding the requirements for maintaining the enrichment, function and survival of BM Treg needs to be further investigated to improve therapeutic strategies and promote tolerance after SCT.

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