Cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) lines specific for allogeneic antigens were generated by in vitro stimulation of donor-derived peripheral blood mononuclear cells obtained from patients who received human leucocyte antigen (HLA)-matched allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). One of the allogeneic antigen-specific CD4 + CTL lines, CTL-A, generated from a patient with T cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, recognised HLA-DPB1*0501-positive Epstein-Barr virus-immortalised human B cell line (EBV-B cells), phytohaemagglutinin blasts and leukaemia cells, but not interferon-γ (IFN-γ) treated HLA-DPB1*0501-positive fibroblasts, indicating that this CD4 + T-cell line recognised a minor histocompatibility antigen (mHa) that is preferentially expressed in haematopoietic cells in an HLA-DPB1*0501-restricted manner. The other CD4 + CTL line, CTL-B, generated from a patient with chronic myeloid leukaemia, recognised mismatched HLA-DQB1*0303 on EBV-B cells and phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) blasts. Interestingly, this CTL line did not recognise IFN-γ-treated recipient's skin fibroblasts, as HLA-DQ was merely upregulated even after IFN-γ stimulation in non-haematopoietic cells including fibroblasts, endothelial cells and hepatocytes. These results suggest that these CD4 positive CTLs, specific for mismatch HLA-DQ and mHa that are preferentially expressed on haematopoietic cells, may play an important role in induction of selective graft-versus-leukaemia effect without development of graft-versus-host disease after allogeneic HSCT.
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