Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is a curative method for blood cancers and other blood disorders, but is limited by the development of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). GVHD results in inflammatory damage to the host liver, gastrointestinal tract and skin, resulting in high rates of morbidity and mortality in HSCT recipients. Activation of the A2A receptor has been previously demonstrated to reduce disease in allogeneic mouse models of GVHD. This study aimed to investigate the effect of A2A activation on disease development in a humanised mouse model of GVHD. Immunodeficient non-obese diabetic-severe combined immunodeficiency-interleukin (IL)-2 receptor γnull (NSG) mice injected with human (h) peripheral blood mononuclear cells (hPBMCs), were treated with either the A2A agonist CGS 21680 or control vehicle. Contrary to the beneficial effect of A2A activation in allogeneic mouse models, CGS 21680 increased weight loss, and failed to reduce the clinical score or increase survival in this humanised mouse model of GVHD. Moreover, CGS 21680 reduced T regulatory cells and increased serum human IL-6 concentrations. Conversely, CGS 21680 reduced serum human tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α concentrations and leukocyte infiltration into the liver, indicating that A2A activation can, in part, reduce molecular and histological GVHD in this model. Notably, CGS 21680 also prevented healthy weight gain in NSG mice not engrafted with hPBMCs suggesting that this compound may be suppressing appetite or metabolism. Therefore, the potential benefits of A2A activation in reducing GVHD in HSCT recipients may be limited and confounded by adverse impacts on weight, decreased T regulatory cell frequency and increased IL-6 production.
Available for download on Thursday, April 30, 2020