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Donor lymphocytes expressing the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase suicide gene: detailed immunological function following add-back after haplo-identical transplantation

Hashimoto, H;Kitano, S;Yamagata, S;Miyagi Maeshima, A;Ueda, R;Ito, A;Tada, K;Fuji, S;Yamashita, T;Tomura, D;Nukaya, I;Mineno, J;Fukuda, T;Mori, S;Takaue, Y;Heike, Y;

Haplo-identical hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) with add-back of donor lymphocytes expressing the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase suicide gene (TK cells) is one of the most widely applied promising new gene therapy approaches. However, the immunological status of added-back TK cells after HSCT has yet to be well characterized.,We investigated TK cells through the use of flow cytometry, T-cell receptor (TCR) V repertoire spectratyping and linear amplification-mediated polymerase chain reaction followed by insertion site analysis in a patient enrolled in our clinical trial.,A comparison of onset with remission of acute graft-versus-host disease confirmed that TK cells were predominantly eliminated and that proliferative CD8(+) non-TK cells were also depleted in response to ganciclovir administration. The TCR V-chain repertoire of both TK cells and non-TK cells markedly changed after administration of ganciclovir, and, whereas the TCR repertoire of non-TK cells returned to a normal spectratype long after transplantation, that of TK cells remained skewed. With the long-term prophylactic administration of acyclovir, TK cells oligoclonally expanded and the frequency of spliced variants of TK cells increased. Known cancer-associated genes were not evident near the oligoclonally expanded herpes simplex virus (HSV)-TK insertion sites.,We demonstrate obvious differences in immunological status between TK cells and non-TK cells. In addition, we speculate that long-term prophylactic administration of acyclovir increases the risk of oligoclonal expansion of spliced forms of TK cells.