Blood and gastric FOXP3+ T cells are not decreased in human gastric graft-versus-host disease.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Biology of blood and marrow transplantation : journal of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Volume 17, Issue 4, p.486-96 (2011)


2011, Adult, Aged, Animals, Biopsy, Center-Authored Paper, Clinical Research Division, Cohort Studies, Experimental Histopathology Core Facility, Female, Forkhead Transcription Factors, Gastric Mucosa, Graft vs Host Disease, Hematologic Neoplasms, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, Humans, Male, MICE, Middle Aged, Public Health Sciences Division, Pyloric Antrum, Research Trials Office Core Facility - Biostatistics Service, Shared Resources, Stomach Diseases, T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory, Transplantation, Homologous


Previous studies suggest regulatory T cells (Tregs) inhibit graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in mouse and human hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) recipients. As the gastrointestinal tract represents one of the most common and severe sites of GVHD-related tissue damage, we sought to determine whether a deficit in circulating or gastric mucosal Treg numbers correlates with the clinical onset of gastric GVHD. We used the marker FOXP3 to quantify Tregs in blood and in gastric antral biopsies in a cohort of 60 allogeneic HCT recipients undergoing endoscopy at a single center to evaluate symptoms suspicious for gastrointestinal GVHD. We show for the first time in the gastric mucosa and, contrary to existing reports, in the blood, that the percent of T cells expressing FOXP3 is at least as high in the presence as in the absence of GVHD involving the upper gut. There was no correlation of Treg frequency with the histologic or clinical severity of gastrointestinal GVHD. We conclude that Treg depletion is not a central feature in the pathogenesis of gastric GVHD in humans.