Acute graft-versus-host disease does not require alloantigen expression on host epithelium

Nat Med. 2002 Jun;8(6):575-81. doi: 10.1038/nm0602-575.


Alloantigen expression on host antigen-presenting cells (APCs) is essential to initiate graft-versus-host disease (GvHD); therefore, alloantigen expression on host target epithelium is also thought to be essential for tissue damage. We tested this hypothesis in mouse models of GvHD using bone-marrow chimeras in which either major histocompatibility complex class I or class II alloantigen was expressed only on APCs. We found that acute GvHD does not require alloantigen expression on host target epithelium and that neutralization of tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-1 prevents acute GvHD. These results pertain particularly to CD4-mediated GvHD but also apply, at least in part, to CD8-mediated GvHD. These results challenge current paradigms about the antigen specificity of GvHD effector mechanisms and confirm the central roles of both host APCs and inflammatory cytokines in acute GvHD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Animals
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation / immunology*
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation / pathology
  • Epithelium / immunology*
  • Female
  • Graft vs Host Disease / immunology*
  • Graft vs Host Disease / pathology
  • Graft vs Host Disease / prevention & control
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II / immunology
  • Interleukin-1 / immunology
  • Isoantigens / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Transplantation Chimera
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / immunology


  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II
  • Interleukin-1
  • Isoantigens
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha