Background aims: Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is curative for sickle cell disease, and the use of matched related donors, non-myeloablative conditioning and sirolimus immunosuppression results in stable mixed chimerism without graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). However, the time to terminate sirolimus while maintaining mixed chimerism is unclear.
Methods: In this study, we developed a two-way mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR) to evaluate ex vivo immunoreaction in mixed chimeric patients.
Results: In co-culture of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from two healthy controls (without irradiation), we detected proliferation at various ratios of PBMC mixtures (1:9 to 9:1) as well as various concentrations of sirolimus, suggesting that two-way MLR is applicable to patients (having >10% chimerism) undergoing sirolimus treatment. In two-way MLR using PBMCs (including donor and recipient cells) from mixed chimeric patients (n = 28), greater ex vivo proliferation was observed <6 months compared with >6 months post-transplant and healthy control PBMC monoculture. Robust ex vivo proliferation was observed in a patient with acute GVHD, and persistent ex vivo proliferation (until 2 years) was observed in a patient with decreasing donor chimerism.
Conclusions: In summary, we demonstrated that in two-way MLR, ex vivo immunoreaction decreases to low levels ~6 months post-transplant. These findings suggest a rationale to continue immunosuppression for 6 months.
Keywords: hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; matched related donor; mixed chimerism; mixed lymphocyte reaction; regulatory T cells; sickle cell disease; sirolimus.
Published by Elsevier Inc.