Publication Date


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Academic Program

Immunology and Microbiology


Program in Molecular Medicine

First Thesis Advisor

Dr. Dale Greiner


Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation, Transplantation Immunology, Transplantation, Homologous, Transplantation Tolerance, Transplantation Chimera, Radiation Chimera, Transplantation Conditioning, Graft vs Host Disease


Allogeneic hematopoietic chimerism leading to central tolerance has significant therapeutic potential. Establishment of hematopoietic chimerism created by stem cell transplantation has been shown to prevent and cure a number of autoimmune diseases and induce the most robust and long-lasting form of transplantation tolerance known. However, the realization of the vast clinical potential of hematopoietic chimerism for induction of transplantation tolerance has been impeded by the toxicity of the host conditioning regimen and the development of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). This thesis describes the development of stem cell transplantation protocols that 1) reduce the host conditioning regimen; and 2) abrogate the development of GVHD. When applied to the treatment of autoimmune diabetic NOD mice, a model of type 1 diabetes, stem cell transplantation was able to 3) prevent autoimmune recurrence; and 4) permit curative pancreatic islet transplantation.

I first describe a tolerance-based stem cell transplantation protocol that combines sub-lethal irradiation with transient blockade of the CD40-CD154 costimulatory pathway using an anti-CD154 antibody. With this protocol, I established hematopoietic chimerism in BALB/c mice transplanted with fully allogeneic C57BL/6 bone marrow. All chimeric mice treated with anti-CD154 antibody remained free of graft disease (GVHD) and accepted donor-origin but not third party skin allografts. It was similarly possible to create allogeneic hematopoietic chimerism in NOD/Lt mice with spontaneous autoimmune diabetes. Pancreatic islet allografts transplanted into chimeric NOD/Lt mice were resistant not only to allorejection but also to recurrence of autoimmunity. I conclude that it is possible to establish robust allogeneic hematopoietic chimerism in sub-lethally irradiated mice without subsequent GVHD by blocking the CD40-CD154 costimulatory pathway using as few as two injections of anti-CD154 antibody. I also conclude that chimerism created in this way generates donor-specific allograft tolerance and reverses the predisposition to recurrent autoimmune diabetes in NOD/Lt mice, enabling them to accept curative islet allografts.

In order to further reduce the impediments associated with the implementation of allogeneic hematopoietic chimerism as a therapeutic modality, I adapted a costimulation blockade-based protocol developed for solid organ transplantation for use in stem cell transplantation. The protocol combines a donor-specific transfusion (DST) with anti-CD154 antibody to induce peripheral transplantation tolerance. When applied to stem cell transplantation, administration of DST, anti-CD154 antibody, and allogeneic bone marrow led to hematopoietic chimerism and central tolerance with no myeloablation (i.e. no radiation) and no GVHD in 3 different strains of mice. The development of donor-specific tolerance in this system was shown to involve deletion of both peripheral host alloreactive CD8+ T cells and nascent intrathymic alloreactive CD8+ T cells. In the absence of large numbers of host alloreactive CD8+ T cells, the cell transfusion that precedes transplantation need not be of donor-origin, suggesting that both allo-specific and non-allo-specific mechanisms regulate engraftment. Agents that interfere with peripheral transplantation tolerance partially impair establishment of chimerism. I conclude that robust allogeneic hematopoietic chimerism and central tolerance can be established in the absence of host myeloablative conditioning using a peripheral transplantation tolerance protocol.



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