B cells are known to play an important role in pathogenesis of human chronic graft vs. host disease (cGVHD). Our group has previously shown that IgG allo-antibodies recognize Y chromosome-encoded proteins (H-Y) and a dominant H-Y epitope, DEAD box protein (DBY-2) detectable 6-12 mo after transplant in male patients who receive grafts from female donors (F?M) hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). Here we present FACS studies of peripheral blood mononuclear cells collected 6 mo after transplant showing that 16 of 28 (57%) F?M HCT patients have circulating donor B cells that express B-cell receptor (mainly IgM and Ig?) specific for DBY-2. The detection of these DBY-2 B cells 6 mo after HCT are associated with cGVHD development (P = 0.004). Specifically, 15 of 16 F?M with DBY-2 B cells developed cGVHD. In contrast, cGVHD developed in only 5 of the 12 who did not have DBY-2 B cells detected. This demonstrates circulating human B cells binding an alloantigen (DBY-2) and that these DBY-2-specific B cells appear before development of cGVHD in roughly half of the F?M patients. Our study suggests that detection of anti-DBY-2 B cells may predict cGVHD and that this prediction may have clinical utility. Validation of this hypothesis will require larger prospective studies.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1222900110
View details for Web of Science ID 000315954400081
View details for PubMedID 23382226
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3581974