Circulating dendritic cell subset levels after allogeneic stem cell transplantation in children correlate with time post transplant and severity of acute graft-versus-host disease

Bone Marrow Transplant. 2005 Mar;35(5):501-7. doi: 10.1038/sj.bmt.1704827.


We examined the recovery of circulating monocytoid (Lin- CD11+ HLA-DR+) and plasmacytoid (Lin- CD123+ HLA-DR+) precursor (pre) dendritic cell (DC) subsets after allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT) in 39 children, using age-matched healthy children as controls. The frequencies of DCs in peripheral blood samples were determined by flow cytometry. The initial recovery of DC occurred simultaneously with myeloid engraftment. However, with time, DC subset values declined, being very low 40-50 days after SCT. Low monocytoid and plasmacytoid DC values were associated significantly with the development of severe acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) (P=0.042 and 0.017, respectively). Plasmacytoid DC values were lower than in the age-matched controls for the entire follow-up period (range 102-2569 days), although, with time, values approached normal levels. Normal monocytoid DC numbers were observed within 300-400 days post SCT. The severity of chronic GVHD did not correlate with quantitative recovery of DC. We conclude that in pediatric SCT, initial recovery of DC production is concurrent with that of myelopoiesis, yet with time, DC subset values decline and low counts are associated with severe aGVHD. Monocytoid DC numbers approach normal levels within a year of SCT, but plasmacytoid DC counts recover very slowly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Blood Cell Count
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dendritic Cells / cytology*
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Graft Survival
  • Graft vs Host Disease / diagnosis*
  • Graft vs Host Disease / etiology
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Time Factors
  • Transplantation, Homologous