Refractory acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) occurs when the immune injury exceeds the capacity of injured tissues to regenerate and repair. While glucocorticoids have been used for decades to treat GVHD, Arnhold, Chang, and colleagues in this issue of the JCI question whether this approach can in fact be counterproductive. Using in vivo experimental models of GVHD and in vitro intestinal organoids, the study authors show that glucocorticoid exposure directly impeded small intestinal epithelial proliferation and survival, thus preventing the resolution of injury. These findings suggest that future treatment approaches for acute GVHD should include measures to reduce immune reactivity as well as interventions to actively promote tissue resilience.


Daniel North, Ronjon Chakraverty


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