In humans receiving intestinal transplantation (ITx), long-term multilineage blood chimerism often develops. Donor T cell macrochimerism (≥4%) frequently occurs without graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and is associated with reduced rejection. Here we demonstrate that patients with macrochimerism had high graft-versus-host (GvH) to host-versus-graft (HvG) T cell clonal ratios in their allografts. These GvH clones entered the circulation, where their peak levels were associated with declines in HvG clones early after transplant, suggesting that GvH reactions may contribute to chimerism and control HvG responses without causing GVHD. Consistently, donor-derived T cells, including GvH clones, and CD34+ hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) were simultaneously detected in the recipients’ BM more than 100 days after transplant. Individual GvH clones appeared in ileal mucosa or PBMCs before detection in recipient BM, consistent with an intestinal mucosal origin, where donor GvH-reactive T cells expanded early upon entry of recipient APCs into the graft. These results, combined with cytotoxic single-cell transcriptional profiles of donor T cells in recipient BM, suggest that tissue-resident GvH-reactive donor T cells migrated into the recipient circulation and BM, where they destroyed recipient hematopoietic cells through cytolytic effector functions and promoted engraftment of graft-derived HSPCs that maintain chimerism. These mechanisms suggest an approach to achieving intestinal allograft tolerance.
Jianing Fu, Julien Zuber, Brittany Shonts, Aleksandar Obradovic, Zicheng Wang, Kristjana Frangaj, Wenzhao Meng, Aaron M. Rosenfeld, Elizabeth E. Waffarn, Peter Liou, Sai-ping Lau, Thomas M. Savage, Suxiao Yang, Kortney Rogers, Nichole M. Danzl, Shilpa Ravella, Prakash Satwani, Alina Iuga, Siu-hong Ho, Adam Griesemer, Yufeng Shen, Eline T. Luning Prak, Mercedes Martinez, Tomoaki Kato, Megan Sykes