News of the WeekImmunology

Keeping Bone Marrow Grafts in Check

Science  16 Jul 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5426, pp. 310-311
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5426.310b

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To curb graft versus host disease (GVHD), a potentially fatal disease in which T cells from transplanted bone marrow turn against their new host, clinicians either sift out all the donor T cells or treat recipients with powerful immunosuppressive drugs, leaving patients extremely vulnerable to infections. Immunologists now report on page 412 that GVHD can be suppressed in mice by inactivating the recipients' antigen-presenting cells, or APCs, which display snippets of foreign proteins to T cells, sparking an immune response. Suppressing these cells blindfolds the donor T cells toward host cells, the team found, although the T cells should still be capable of responding to viruses or other pathogens presented by donor APCs from the transplants.