Autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is commonly employed for hematologic and non-hematologic malignancies. In clinical trials, HSCT has been evaluated for severe autoimmunity as a method to “reset” the immune system and produce a new, non-autoimmune repertoire. While the feasibility of eliminating the vast majority of mature T cells is well established, accurate and quantitative determination of the relationship of regenerated T cells to the baseline repertoire has been difficult to assess. Here, in a phase II study of HSCT for poor-prognosis multiple sclerosis, we used high-throughput deep TCRβ chain sequencing to assess millions of individual TCRs per patient sample. We found that HSCT has distinctive effects on CD4+ and CD8+ T cell repertoires. In CD4+ T cells, dominant TCR clones present before treatment were undetectable following reconstitution, and patients largely developed a new repertoire. In contrast, dominant CD8+ clones were not effectively removed, and the reconstituted CD8+ T cell repertoire was created by clonal expansion of cells present before treatment. Importantly, patients who failed to respond to treatment had less diversity in their T cell repertoire early during the reconstitution process. These results demonstrate that TCR characterization during immunomodulatory treatment is both feasible and informative, and may enable monitoring of pathogenic or protective T cell clones following HSCT and cellular therapies.
Paolo A. Muraro, Harlan Robins, Sachin Malhotra, Michael Howell, Deborah Phippard, Cindy Desmarais, Alessandra de Paula Alves Sousa, Linda M. Griffith, Noha Lim, Richard A. Nash, Laurence A. Turka