Author(s): Darlington PJ, Touil T, Doucet JS, Gaucher D, Zeidan J,
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To define changes in phenotype and functional responses of reconstituting T cells in patients with aggressive multiple sclerosis (MS) treated with ablative chemotherapy and autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). METHODS: Clinical and brain magnetic resonance imaging measures of disease activity were monitored serially in patients participating in the Canadian MS HSCT Study. Reconstitution kinetics of immune-cell subsets were determined by flow cytometry, whereas thymic function was assessed using T-cell receptor excision circle analyses as well as flow cytometry measurements of CD31+ recent thymic emigrants (RTEs). Functional assays were performed to track central nervous system-autoreactive antigen-specific T-cell responses, and the relative capacity to generate Th1, Th17, or Th1/17 T-cell responses. RESULTS: Complete abrogation of new clinical relapses and new focal inflammatory brain lesions throughout the 2 years of immune monitoring following treatment was associated with sustained decrease in naive T cells, in spite of restoration of both thymic function and release of RTEs during reconstitution. Re-emergence as well as in vivo expansion of autoreactive T cells to multiple myelin targets was evident in all patients studied. The reconstituted myelin-specific T cells exhibited the same Th1 and Th2 responses as preablation myelin-reactive T cells. In contrast, the post-therapy T-cell repertoire exhibited a significantly diminished capacity for Th17 responses. INTERPRETATION: Our results indicate that diminished Th17 and Th1/17 responses, rather than Th1 responses, are particularly relevant to the abrogation of new relapsing disease activity observed in this cohort of patients with aggressive MS following chemoablation and HSCT. Copyright © 2013 American Neurological Association.
This article was published in Ann Neurol
and referenced in Journal of Genetic Syndromes & Gene Therapy