Donor T-cell-derived interleukin-22 promotes thymus regeneration and alleviates chronic graft-versus-host disease in murine allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant

International Immunopharmacology
Bin PanKailin Xu


Defect of thymus results in poor posttransplant immune recovery and dysfunction of immune tolerance after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplants (allo-HCT). Improving thymus regeneration represents a potential strategy to accelerate recovery of T-cell immunity. IL-22 was reported to mediate thymus regeneration after injury. In this study, we found donor T-cell is a major source of IL-22 in allotransplant recipient. Through applying IL-22 knock out (IL-22KO) mice in allo-HCT, we found donor T-cell derived IL-22 promotes thymus regeneration in association with increased level of intra-thymic IL-22. IL-22KO T-cell-transplanted recipients show deficient thymus recovery which is reversed by injection of exogenous IL-22. T-cell derived IL-22 promotes proliferation of thymic epithelial cells (TECs) in vitro. In addition, donor T-cell derived IL-22 increases expression level of Aire in the thymus and decreases skin chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Furthermore, short-term use of exogenous IL-22 posttransplant accelerates recovery of thymus without increasing severity of acute GVHD. Our data indicate that cross-talk between T-cell and TECs is an important mechanism to mediate reconstitution of T-cell immunity after allo-HCT.


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