Cytokine Profiles of Pre-Engraftment Syndrome after Single-Unit Cord Blood Transplantation for Adult Patients

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2017 Nov;23(11):1932-1938. doi: 10.1016/j.bbmt.2017.07.020. Epub 2017 Jul 26.


Clinical manifestation of high-grade fever and skin rash before neutrophil engraftment, termed pre-engraftment syndrome (PES) or pre-engraftment immune reaction, has been frequently observed after cord blood transplantation (CBT). The pathophysiology of PES is poorly understood, but cytokine storm during the early phase of CBT is thought to be 1 of the main cause of PES. However, the cytokine profiles of PES after CBT are unclear. Therefore, we examined the relationship between serum cytokine profiles and PES in 44 adult patients who received CBT in our institution between February 2013 and June 2016. Serum levels of 21 cytokines, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-8, IL-9, IL-10, IL-12p70, IL-13, IL-17A, IL-17F, IL-18, IL-21, IL-22, IL-23, IL-33, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, IFN-α, IFN-γ, and TNF-α, were measured by multiplex bead assays using a flow cytometer. The median time until the absolute neutrophil count was >.5 × 109/L was 21 days (range, 15 to 41 days). The cumulative incidence of PES was 79.6% (95% confidence interval, 63.3% to 88.5%) at 60 days after CBT. Serum levels of IL-5 (P = .009) and IL-6 (P = .01) at 2 weeks were significantly higher in patients who developed PES compared with those who did not develop PES. The conversion from naïve to effector or central memory phenotype of T cells was observed in PES. These data indicate that elevations of IL-5 and IL-6 around the time of clinical manifestation may be possible biomarkers for PES after CBT.

Keywords: Cord blood transplantation; Cytokine; Interleukin-5; Interleukin-6; Pre-engraftment immune reaction; Pre-engraftment syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cord Blood Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Transplantation Conditioning / methods*
  • Young Adult


  • Cytokines