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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012, Article ID 606839, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1100/2012/606839
Clinical Study

CD4+CD25highCD127low Regulatory T Cells in Peripheral Blood Are Not an Independent Factor for Chronic Graft-versus-Host Disease after Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation

1Department of Internal Medicine-Hematology, Oncology and Rheumatology, University Hospital Heidelberg, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
2Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit, Department of Internal Medicine-Hematology, Oncology and Rheumatology, University Hospital Heidelberg, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany

Received 23 October 2011; Accepted 30 November 2011

Academic Editors: R. Duchmann, B. Savani, and S. Soverini

Copyright © 2012 Jolanta B. Perz et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background. The therapeutic efficacy of allogeneic hemopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) largely relies on the graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) effect. Uncontrolled graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a feared complication of HSCT. Regulatory T cells (Treg) are a subset of CD4+ T-helper cells believed to maintain tolerance after HSCT. It remains unclear whether low peripheral blood Treg have an impact on the risk for acute (aGVHD) and chronic GVHD (cGVHD). Methods. In this paper we enumerated the CD4+CD25highCD127low Treg in the peripheral blood of 84 patients after at least 150 days from HSCT and in 20 healthy age-matched controls. Results. Although similar mean lymphocyte counts were found in patients and controls, CD3+CD4+ T-cell counts were significantly lower in patients. Patients also had significantly lower Treg percentages among lymphocytes as compared to controls. Patients with cGVHD had even higher percentages of Treg if compared to patients without cGVHD. In multivariate analysis, Treg percentages were not an independent factor for cGVHD. Conclusions. This paper did not show a relation between deficient peripheral blood Treg and cGVHD, therefore cGVHD does not seem to occur as a result of peripheral Treg paucity.