HY-specific T cells are presumed to play a role in acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) after female-to-male stem cell transplantation (SCT). However, infiltrates of these T cells in aGVHD-affected tissues have not yet been reported. We evaluated the application of HLA-A2/HY dextramers for the in situ detection of HY-specific T cells in cryopreserved skin biopsy specimens. We applied the HLA-A2/HY dextramers on cryopreserved skin biopsy specimens from seven male HLA-A2(+) pediatric patients who underwent stem cell transplantation with confirmed aGVHD involving the skin. The dextramers demonstrated the presence of HY-specific T cells. In skin biopsy specimens of three male recipients of female grafts, 68% to 78% of all skin-infiltrating CD8(+) T cells were HY-specific, whereas these cells were absent in biopsy specimens collected from sex-matched patient-donor pairs. Although this study involved a small and heterogeneous patient group, our results strongly support the hypothesis that HY-specific T cells are actively involved in the pathophysiology of aGVHD after sex-mismatched stem cell transplantation.
Copyright Â© 2012 American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.