CC chemokine receptor 8 potentiates donor Treg survival and is critical for the prevention of murine graft-versus-host disease

James M. Coghill, Kenneth A. Fowler, Michelle L. West, Leshara M. Fulton, Hendrik van Deventer, Karen P. McKinnon, Benjamin G. Vincent, Kaifeng Lin, Angela Panoskaltsis-Mortari, Donald N. Cook, Bruce R. Blazar, Jonathan S. Serody

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The infusion of donor regulatory T cells (Tregs) has been used to prevent acute graftversus- host disease (GVHD) in mice and has shown promise in phase 1 clinical trials. Previous work suggested that early Treg migration into lymphoid tissue was important for GVHD prevention. However, it is unclear how and where Tregs function longitudinally to affect GVHD. To better understand their mechanism of action, we studied 2 Treg-associated chemokine receptors in murine stem cell transplant models. CC chemokine receptor (CCR) 4 was dispensable for donor Treg function in the transplant setting. Donor Tregs lacking CCR8 (CCR8-/-), however, were severely impaired in their ability to prevent lethal GVHD because of increased cell death. By itself, CCR8 stimulation was unable to rescue Tregs from apoptosis. Instead, CCR8 potentiated Treg survival by promoting critical interactions with dendritic cells. In vivo, donor bone marrow-derived CD11c1 antigen-presenting cells (APCs) were important for promoting donor Treg maintenance after transplant. In contrast, host CD11c1 APCs appeared to be dispensable for early activation and expansion of donor Tregs. Collectively, our data indicate that a sustained donor Treg presence is critical for their beneficial properties, and that their survival depends on CCR8 and donor but not host CD11c1 APCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)825-836
Number of pages12
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 1 2013

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