Bortezomib, a proteasome inhibitor capable of direct antitumor effects, has been shown to prevent acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) when administered in a short course immediately after bone marrow transplantation (BMT) in mice. However, when bortezomib is given continuously, CD4(+) T cell-mediated gastrointestinal tract damage increases GVHD mortality. To investigate the protective effects of bortezomib on other organs, we used a CD8-dependent acute GVHD (aGVHD) model of C3H.SW donor T cells engrafted into irradiated C57BL/6 recipients (minor MHC mismatch), which lack significant gut GVHD. Our data in this model show that bortezomib can be given continuously to prevent and treat aGVHD mediated by CD8(+) T cells, but this effect is organ specific, such that only skin, and not liver, protection was observed. Despite the lack of hepatic protection, bortezomib still significantly improved survival, primarily because of its skin protection. Reduced skin GVHD by bortezomib was correlated with reduced serum and skin IL-6 levels. Administration of a blocking IL-6 antibody in this model also resulted in similar cutaneous GVHD protection. These results indicate that bortezomib or blockade of IL-6 may prevent CD8(+) T cell-mediated cutaneous acute GVHD.
Keywords: Anti–IL-6 therapy; Bortezomib; Skin acute graft-versus-host disease.
Copyright © 2014 American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.