Polymorphic minor transplantation antigens probably play an important role in immune mediated graft rejections of bone marrow transplants. Mapping of these antigens on hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPC) is important since these antigenic determinants may serve as target structures in the rejection process, and it ultimately opens the possibility to match for these antigens. Using a cell-mediated cytotoxicity assay with H-Y-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes as effector cells, a dose-dependent growth inhibition up to 100% of myeloid (CFU-GM), erythroid (BFU-E) and multipotential (CFU-GEMM) HPC of male donors was obtained, indicating expression of the H-Y antigen on these progenitor cells. In contrast, inhibition of relatively mature erythroid and myeloid progenitor cells was only 40-50%, indicating that the recognition of the H-Y antigen diminished during maturation of erythroid and myeloid HPC. Our results show that the H-Y antigen can be recognized on HPC as a target for cytotoxic T cell responses. This may be important in graft rejection of male donor bone marrow grafts by female recipients.
P J Voogt, E Goulmy, W E Fibbe, W F Veenhof, A Brand, J H Falkenburg