Functional immune reconstitution early after allogeneic haematopoietic cell transplantation: A comparison of pre- and post-transplantation cytokine responses in stimulated whole blood

Abstract

We aimed to use a novel standardized whole-blood stimulation system to evaluate differences in the functional immune reconstitution in patients early after allogeneic haematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). Between April and September 2018, 30 patients undergoing HCT had whole blood samples collected around day -21 (day 0 being the day of haematopoietic cell infusion) and day +28. Whole blood was transferred to TruCulture assays comprising prefilled incubation tubes with cell culture medium and a standardized stimulus. We used a panel of four stimuli (lipopolysaccharide, resiquimod, heat-killed Candida albicans and polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid) and a blank, designed to evaluate the function of critical extra- and intracellular immunological signalling pathways. For each stimulus, the cytokine response was assessed by the concentration of interferon-γ, interleukin (IL)-12p40, IL-10, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12p40, IL-17A and tumour necrosis factor-α using a multiplex Luminex assay. Pre-HCT cytokine responses were globally decreased across several different stimuli. Despite patients receiving immunosuppressive prophylaxis at the time, post-HCT cytokine responses were higher and less intercorrelated than pre-HCT responses, also after adjusting for differences in the leukocyte differential counts. For the resiquimod and heat-killed Candida albicans stimuli, we identified a cluster of patients in whom post-HCT responses were lower than average across several cytokines, indicating a possible functional immune deficiency. Our findings suggest that the standardized whole blood stimulation system can be used to reveal heterogeneity in the in vitro cytokine responses to various stimuli after HCT. Larger studies are needed to address if the functional immune reconstitution after HCT can predict the risk of infections.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13042
JournalScandinavian Journal of Immunology
Volume94
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)e13042
ISSN0300-9475
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Keywords

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cytokines/immunology
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection/immunology
  • Graft vs Host Disease/immunology
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation/methods
  • Humans
  • Immune Reconstitution/immunology
  • Interferon-gamma/immunology
  • Interleukins/immunology
  • Leukocytes/immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Signal Transduction/immunology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/immunology

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