A minor transplantation antigen detected by MHC-restricted cytotoxic T lymphocytes during graft-versus-host disease

Nature. 1983 Mar 10;302(5904):159-61. doi: 10.1038/302159a0.


Transplantation of bone marrow can give rise to graft-versus-host disease when donor T lymphocytes, mismatched with the host for major histocompatability (MHC) antigens, become sensitized and attack host tissues. However, graft-versus-host disease can also arise between donor and host with compatible MHC antigens but mismatched for a minor histocompatability antigen. We report here on the occurrence of severe acute graft-versus-host disease in a male patient with acute myeloid leukaemia who had received bone marrow matched for MHC (HLA) antigens from his sister. Strong cytotoxicity of the posttransplantation (that is, donor) lymphocytes against the patient's pretransplantation lymphocytes was found. Thus, the transplanted lymphocytes differed in a non-HLA antigen from the patient. The possible role of this strong cytotoxic minor histocompatability antigen in the development of graft-versus-host disease in man is being evaluated. Furthermore, with the use of cytotoxic T-cell lines, derived from the patient's 6 day effector cells, we are now able to type for it before grafting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bone Marrow Transplantation
  • Epitopes
  • Graft vs Host Disease / immunology*
  • HLA Antigens / immunology*
  • Histocompatibility Antigens / immunology*
  • Humans
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology*


  • Epitopes
  • HLA Antigens
  • Histocompatibility Antigens