Replacement of failed organs followed by safe withdrawal of immunosuppressive drugs have long been the goals of organ transplantation. We studied changes in the balance of T and myeloid cells in blood of HLA-matched and -mismatched patients given living donor kidney transplants (KTx) followed by total lymphoid irradiation (TLI), anti-thymocyte globulin (ATG) conditioning, and donor hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) to induce mixed chimerism and immune tolerance. The clinical trials were based on a conditioning regimen used to establish mixed chimerism and tolerance in mice. In pre-clinical murine studies, there was a profound depletion of T cells and an increase in immunosuppressive, polymorphonuclear (pmn), myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in the spleen and blood following transplant. Selective depletion of the pmn-MDSCs in mice abrogated mixed chimerism and tolerance. In our clinical trials, patients given an analogous tolerance conditioning regimen developed similar changes including profound depletion of T cells and a marked increase in MDSCs in blood post-transplant. Post-transplant pmn-MDSCs transiently increased expression of lectin-type, oxidized LDL receptor-1 (LOX-1), a marker of immunosuppression, and production of the T cell inhibitor, arginase-1. These post-transplant pmn-MDSCs suppressed the activation, proliferation, and inflammatory cytokine secretion of autologous, TCR microbead-stimulated, pre-transplant T cells when co-cultured in vitro. In conclusion, we elucidated changes in receptors, and function of immunosuppressive myeloid cells in patients enrolled in the tolerance protocol that were nearly identical to the that of MDSCs required for tolerance in mice. The clinical trials are registered in Clinicaltrials.gov under NCT #s 00319657 and 01165762.
View details for DOI 10.1182/bloodadvances.2020003669
View details for PubMedID 34432869