Clinical strategies to enhance thymic recovery after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
Precursor Cells, T-Lymphoid
The thymus is particularly sensitive to injury caused by cytoreductive chemo- or radiation therapy, shock, infection and graft versus host disease. Insufficient thymic recovery has been directly correlated with increased risk of opportunistic infections and poor clinical outcomes in recipients of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT). Prolonged immune deficiency is particularly pronounced in older patients whose thymi are already significantly impaired due to age-related thymic involution. Preclinical and clinical studies have revealed several strategies that can enhance thymic function and immune reconstitution after transplant, including sex steroid ablation, growth factors (growth hormone, keratinocyte growth factor, insulin-like growth factor 1, interleukin-7) and ex vivo generated precursor T cells. In addition, recent studies have shown that other approaches, such as interleukein-22 and nutritional changes, may represent additional candidates to enhance thymic regeneration. In this review we provide updates on these strategies and comment on their potential to be translated into clinical therapies.