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Open Access Attenuation of Murine Graft-Versus-Host Disease by a Tea Polyphenol

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Since donor T-cells' allorecognition of host antigens is a prerequisite for the onset of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), blocking their cellular signaling pathways can decrease the severity of GVHD. We hypothesized that epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), due to its strong affinity to macromolecules, would adhere to surface molecules of donor T cells, inhibit their allorecognition, and attenuate GVHD in the recipient. We tested the hypothesis by treating donor splenocytes with EGCG in both in vitro and in vivo murine GVHD models. EGCG treatment decreased the proliferation of donor cells in MLR cultures and secretion of IL-2 and INF-γ. It also reduced the epitope detection of CD3ɛ, CD4, and CD28 but did not downregulate the protein expression of these molecules, suggesting blockage of cell surface stimulatory signals. Similarly, EGCG treatment did not decrease mRNA expression for some of these molecules but decreased mitogen-induced cell proliferation, indicating that EGCG did not interfere the transcription of these genes but affected cell proliferation pathways. Furthermore, EGCG-treated donor splenocytes, when transplanted into immunocompromized recipient mice, decreased of proliferation, and the treatment extended the recipients' survival at least during the early stage of GVHD. These results strongly suggest that EGCG attenuates GVHD by both blocking specific cell surface molecules and affecting the donor T-cell proliferation pathways.

Keywords: Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG); Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD); T cells; Tea polyphenol

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Transplant Unit, Kyoto University Hospital, Kyoto, Japan

Publication date: May 1, 2012

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

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