Differential use of Fas ligand and perforin cytotoxic pathways by donor T cells in graft-versus-host disease and graft-versus-leukemia effect Academic Article Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Graft vs Host Disease
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
  • T-Lymphocytes
  • Transplantation Immunology


  • In allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) donor T cells are primarily responsible for antihost activity, resulting in graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), and for antileukemia activity, resulting in the graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) effect. The relative contributions of the Fas ligand (FasL) and perforin cytotoxic pathways in GVHD and GVL activity were studied by using FasL-defective or perforin-deficient donor T cells in murine parent --> F1 models for allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. It was found that FasL-defective B6.gld donor T cells display diminished GVHD activity but have intact GVL activity. In contrast, perforin-deficient B6.pfp(-/-) donor T cells have intact GVHD activity but display diminished GVL activity. Splenic T cells from recipients of B6.gld or B6.pfp(-/-) T cells had identical proliferative and cytokine responses to host antigens; however, splenic T cells from recipients of B6.pfp(-/-) T cells had no cytolytic activity against leukemia cells in a cytotoxicity assay. In experiments with selected CD4(+) or CD8(+) donor T cells, the FasL pathway was important for GVHD activity by both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells, whereas the perforin pathway was required for CD8-mediated GVL activity. These data demonstrate in a murine model for allogeneic bone marrow transplantation that donor T cells mediate GVHD activity primarily through the FasL effector pathway and GVL activity through the perforin pathway. This suggests that donor T cells make differential use of cytolytic pathways and that the specific blockade of one cytotoxic pathway may be used to prevent GVHD without interfering with GVL activity.

publication date

  • May 2001



  • Academic Article


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1182/blood.V97.9.2886

PubMed ID

  • 11313285

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 2886

end page

  • 95


  • 97


  • 9