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Development of acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) predisposes to chronic GVHD with autoimmune manifestations. A characteristic of experimental aGVHD is the de novo generation of autoreactive T cells. Central tolerance is dependent on the intrathymic expression of tissue-restricted peripheral self-antigens (TRA), which is in mature medullary thymic epithelial cells (mTEC(high)) partly controlled by the autoimmune regulator (Aire). Because TECs are targets of donor T-cell alloimmunity, we tested whether murine aGVHD interfered with the capacity of recipient Aire(+)mTEC(high) to sustain TRA diversity. We report that aGVHD weakens the platform for central tolerance induction because individual TRAs are purged from the total repertoire secondary to a decline in the Aire(+)mTEC(high) cell pool. Peritransplant administration of an epithelial cytoprotective agent, fibroblast growth factor-7, maintained a stable pool of Aire(+)mTEC(high), with an improved TRA transcriptome despite aGVHD. Taken together, our data provide a mechanism for how autoimmunity may develop in the context of antecedent alloimmunity.

Original publication

DOI

10.1182/blood-2012-12-474759

Type

Journal article

Journal

Blood

Publication Date

01/08/2013

Volume

122

Pages

837 - 841

Keywords

Acute Disease, Animals, Antigens, Autoantigens, Epithelial Cells, Female, Gene Expression, Graft vs Host Disease, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Inbred DBA, Mice, Transgenic, Thymus Gland