Murine syngeneic graft-versus-host disease is responsive to broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy

J. Anthony Brandon, C. Darrell Jennings, Alan M. Kaplan, J. Scott Bryson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Murine syngeneic graft-versus-host disease (SGVHD) initiates colon and liver inflammation following lethal irradiation, reconstitution with syngeneic bone marrow transplantation, and therapy with the immunosuppressive agent cyclosporine A. Previous studies have demonstrated that the inducible disease is mediated by CD4+ T cells with increased reactivity of peripheral and liver-associated lymphocytes against intestinal microbial Ags. In the current report, studies were performed to analyze the specificity of the CD4+ T cell response of T cells isolated from diseased animals and to determine the in vivo role of the microbiota to the development of SGVHD. Increased major histocompatibility Ag (MHC) class II-restricted responsiveness of SGVHD CD4 + T cells against microbial Ags isolated from the ceca of normal animals was observed. The enhanced proliferative response was observed in the CD62L- memory population of CD4+ T cells. To determine the role of the bacterial microbiota in the development of murine SGVHD, control and CsA-treated bone marrow transplantation animals were treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics (metronidazole, ciprofloxacin) after transplantation. Cyclosporine A-treated animals that were given antibiotic therapy failed to develop clinical symptoms and pathological lesions in the target tissues characteristic of SGVHD. Furthermore, the reduction in intestinal bacteria resulted in the elimination of the enhanced antimicrobial CD4+ T cell response and significantly reduced levels of the inflammatory cytokines, IFN-γ, IL-17, and TNF-α. The elimination of the disease-associated inflammatory immune responses and pathology by treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics definitively links the role of the microbiota and microbial-specific immunity to the development of murine SGVHD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3726-3734
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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