• The Role of Co-stimulatory/Co-inhibitory Signals in Graft-vs.-Host Disease

      Kumar, S.; Leigh, N.D.; Cao, X. (Frontiers Media, 2018)
      Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT) is an effective immunotherapeutic approach for various hematologic and immunologic ailments. Despite the beneficial impact of allo-HCT, its adverse effects cause severe health concerns. After transplantation, recognition of host cells as foreign entities by donor T cells induces graft-vs.-host disease (GVHD). Activation, proliferation and trafficking of donor T cells to target organs and tissues are critical steps in the pathogenesis of GVHD. T cell activation is a synergistic process of T cell receptor (TCR) recognition of major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-anchored antigen and co-stimulatory/co-inhibitory signaling in the presence of cytokines. Most of the currently used therapeutic regimens for GVHD are based on inhibiting the allogeneic T cell response or T-cell depletion (TCD). However, the immunosuppressive drugs and TCD hamper the therapeutic potential of allo-HCT, resulting in attenuated graft-vs.-leukemia (GVL) effect as well as increased vulnerability to infection. In view of the drawback of overbroad immunosuppression, co-stimulatory, and co-inhibitory molecules are plausible targets for selective modulation of T cell activation and function that can improve the effectiveness of allo-HCT. Therefore, this review collates existing knowledge of T cell co-stimulation and co-inhibition with current research that may have the potential to provide novel approaches to cure GVHD without sacrificing the beneficial effects of allo-HCT.