Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a frequent complication following allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) with current therapies limited to general immunosuppression. Humanized mouse models of GVHD are emerging as valuable intermediaries to allow translation of findings from allogeneic mouse models to humans to prevent and treat this disease, but such models require further characterization. In this study, humanized mice were generated by injecting immunodeficient non-obese diabetic severe combined immunodeficiency interleukin (IL)-2 receptor γ common chain null (NSG) mice with human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (hPBMCs). Clinical GVHD development was assessed using established scoring criteria (weight loss, posture, activity, fur texture and skin integrity). Differences between humanized NSG mice that developed clinical or subclinical GVHD were then compared. Both groups of mice demonstrated similar frequencies of human leukocyte engraftment. In contrast, mice that developed clinical GVHD demonstrated increased histological damage compared to mice with subclinical GVHD. Furthermore, mice with clinical GVHD exhibited increases in the splenic human CD4+:CD8+ T cell ratio, serum human interferon (IFN)-γ and intestinal human IL-17 expression compared to mice with subclinical GVHD. These cellular and molecular changes could be used as potential markers of disease progression in this preclinical model. This study also provides further insights into GVHD development which may be relevant to human HSCT recipients.
Available for download on Saturday, February 08, 2020