Maintenance of host leukocytes in peripheral immune compartments following lethal irradiation and bone marrow reconstitution: Implications for graft versus host disease

Academic Article


  • Bone marrow reconstitution is utilized as a tool for disease treatment and as a research technique to elucidate the function of bone marrow derived cells. Clinically successful engraftment is indicated by the development of a functioning immune repertoire. In research, reconstitution is considered successful if >85% of splenic leukocytes are of donor origins. Previous work suggests that splenic reconstitution may not be indicative of reconstitution in the mucosa. We sought to evaluate mucosal reconstitution in animals following a standard bone marrow eradication and reconstitution technique. Bone marrow was harvested from adult B6.SJL donor mice (CD45.1) and injected via either the retro-orbital or intraperitoneal route into lethally irradiated B6 (CD45.2) adult or neonatal recipients respectively. The expression of CD45 by flow cytometrywas used to calculate reconstitution with respect to immune compartment and cell type. In reconstituted adult animals 93.2± 1.5% of splenic leukocytes expressed the donor CD45.1 antigen thusmeeting the standard definition of reconstitution, however only 58.6±13.6% of intestinal lamina propria lymphocytes and 52.4±16.0% of intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes were of donor origin, confirming splenic reconstitution fails to represent peripheral immune reconstitution. T-cells in the gastrointestinal tract are the most poorly reconstituted, while B-cells appear to be almost universally replaced by donor cells. The inadequate mucosal reconstitution was not corrected by evaluating later time points or by performing the bone marrow transfer during the neonatal period. This demonstration that substantial host T-cells remain in the intestinal mucosa after a "successful" bone marrow transplantation should cause a re-evaluation of data from research bone marrow chimera experiments, as well as the mechanisms for complications after clinical bone marrow transplantation. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Staley EM; Tanner SM; Daft JG; Stanus AL; Martin SM; Lorenz RG
  • Start Page

  • 112
  • End Page

  • 119
  • Volume

  • 28
  • Issue

  • 2-3