Author(s): Gross DA, Chappert P, Leboeuf M, Monteilhet V, Van Wittenberghe L,
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Abstract A major impediment to gene replacement therapy is immune elimination of genetically modified cells. In principle, this can be dealt with by inducing a strong, specific, and enduring tolerance through engraftment of transgene-modified autologous bone marrow (BM). Because usual myeloablation and/or immunosuppression are risk factors in most pathologies, we assessed the potential of monospecific CD4(+)CD25(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs) to engraft minor-mismatched BM without preconditioning. We found that as few as 5 x 10(4) Tregs directed to the male DBY protein promote the engraftment of foreign male BM into sex-mismatched female hosts, establishing sustained chimerism in all hematopoeitic compartments. We achieved concomitantly strong tolerance to all foreign antigens expressed in the BM, likely occurring through induction of anergy and/or deletion of antidonor T cells. Chimerism was obtained in thymectomized mice too, underlining the major role of peripheral tolerance mechanisms in our system. This allowed us to engraft gene-modified tissues while preserving full immunocompetence to third-party antigens. Our results demonstrate that very few donor-specific Tregs are effective as the sole conditioning to induce mixed molecular chimerism and long-term tolerance to multiple foreign antigens.
This article was published in Blood
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology