Cytokine expression during acute graft-versus-host disease after allogeneic peripheral stem cell transplantation

Bone Marrow Transplant. 2005 Jun;35(12):1179-86. doi: 10.1038/sj.bmt.1704972.


Acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) is one of the major problems following allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (allo-PBSCT). In order to investigate the pathogenesis of human aGVHD, we analyzed cytokine gene expression and cytokine secretion by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) in 30 patients who underwent allo-PBSCT. In this study, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was used to explore the mRNA expression of interleukin (IL)-2, interferon (IFN)-gamma, IL-4, IL-10 and IL-12 in the PBMC of allo-PBSCT patients with aGVHD and in controls. The concentrations of these cytokines and of IL-18 were also measured by means of ELISA in medium obtained from cultured leukocytes after stimulation with PHA or LPS. Compared with the normal allo-PBSCT group (n=14), IL-2 and IFN-gamma were detected more frequently in aGVHD group (n=16). IL-12 and IL-18 were elevated, while IL-10 level decreased in the same group. There is no difference in IL-4 gene expression between patients with or without aGVHD, but the concentration of IL-4 for patients with grade II-IV aGVHD decreased. These data suggest that IL-2, IFN-gamma, IL-12 and IL-18 play important roles in the development of aGVHD in humans.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cytokines / genetics*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Graft vs Host Disease / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / analysis
  • Interferon-gamma / genetics
  • Interleukin-12 / analysis
  • Interleukin-12 / genetics
  • Interleukin-18 / analysis
  • Interleukin-18 / genetics
  • Interleukin-2 / analysis
  • Interleukin-2 / genetics
  • Interleukins / analysis
  • Interleukins / genetics
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Transplantation, Homologous


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-18
  • Interleukin-2
  • Interleukins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Interleukin-12
  • Interferon-gamma