Bidirectional intragraft alloreactivity drives the repopulation of human intestinal allografts and correlates with clinical outcome.

Zuber J, Shonts B, Lau S, Obradovic A, Fu J, Yang S, Lambert M, Coley S, Weiner J, Thome J, DeWolf S, Farber D, Shen Y, Caillat-Zucman S, Bhagat G, Griesemer A, Martinez M, Kato T, Sykes M

Science immunology, 2017.

Lab members marked as bold


A paradigm in transplantation states that graft-infiltrating T cells are largely non-alloreactive “bystander” cells. However, the origin and specificity of allograft T cells over time has not been investigated in detail in animals or humans. Here, we use polychromatic flow cytometry and high throughput TCR sequencing of serial biopsies to show that gut-resident T cell turnover kinetics in human intestinal allografts are correlated with the balance between intra-graft host-vs-graft (HvG) and graft-vs-host (GvH) reactivities and with clinical outcomes. In the absence of rejection, donor T cells were enriched for GvH-reactive clones that persisted long-term in the graft. Early expansion of GvH clones in the graft correlated with rapid replacement of donor APCs by the recipient. Rejection was associated with transient infiltration by blood-like recipient CD28+ NKG2D(Hi) CD8+ alpha beta T cells, marked predominance of HvG clones, and accelerated T cell turnover in the graft. Ultimately, these recipient T cells acquired a steady state tissue-resident phenotype, but regained CD28 expression during rejections. Increased ratios of GvH to HvG clones were seen in non-rejectors, potentially mitigating the constant threat of rejection posed by HvG clones persisting within the tissue-resident graft T cell population.