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Background: CD4+CD25highFOXP3+ regulatory T (Treg) cells, which include thymus-derived and peripherally induced cells, play a central role in immune regulation, and are therefore crucial to prevent graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). The increasing use of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) for elderly patients with thymus regression, and our case of allo-HSCT shortly after total thymectomy, raised questions about the activity of thymus-derived Treg cells and peripherally induced Treg cells, which are otherwise indistinguishable. Results: We found that despite pre-transplant thymectomy or older age, both naïve and effector Treg cells, as well as naïve and effector conventional T cells, proliferated in allo-HSCT recipients. Higher proportions of total Treg cells 1 month post allo-HSCT, and naïve Treg cells 1 year post allo-HSCT, appeared in patients achieving complete chimera without developing significant chronic GVHD, including our thymectomized patient, compared with patients who developed chronic GVHD. Conclusions: Treg cells that modulate human allogeneic immunity may arise peripherally as well as in the thymus of allo-HSCT recipients.
Takahashi, H., Ikeda, K., Ogawa, K., Saito, S., Ngoma, A. M., Mashimo, Y., … Takeishi, Y. (2015). CD4+ T cells in aged or thymectomized recipients of allogeneic stem cell transplantations. Biological Research, 48. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40659-015-0033-8
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