Prostaglandin E2 promotes survival of naive UCB T cells via the Wnt/β-catenin pathway and alters immune reconstitution after UCBT

Blood Cancer J. 2014 Jan 17;4(1):e178. doi: 10.1038/bcj.2013.75.


The outcome of umbilical cord blood transplantation (UCBT) is compromised by low hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) doses leading to prolonged time to engraftment, delayed immunological reconstitution and late memory T-cell skewing. Exposure of UCB to dimethyl-prostaglandin E2 (dmPGE2) increases HSC in vivo. We determined that exposure of UCB T lymphocytes to dmPGE2 modified Wnt signaling resulting in T cell factor (TCF)-mediated transcription. Wnt signaling upregulated interleukin (IL)-7R and IL-2Rβ, resulting in enhanced survival mediated by the homeostatic cytokines IL-7 and IL-15. dmPGE2 also induced components of the Wnt pathway and Wnt receptors, thereby priming UCB T cells to receive signals via Wnt ligands in vivo. We observed that the Wnt transcription factor TCF7 and its target EOMES were elevated in the T cells of patients who received PGE2-treated UCBs. Consistent with the role of Wnt/β-catenin signaling to induce and maintain naive, memory precursors and long-lived central memory CD8(+) cells, these patients also had increased fractions of CD8(+)CD45RO(-)CD62L(+) plus CD8(+)CD45RO(+)CD62L(+) subsets encompassing these T-cell populations. These effects of the PGE2/Wnt/β-catenin axis may have significant implications for harnessing immunity in the context of UCBT, where impaired immune reconstitution is associated with late memory T-cell skewing.