Impact of Graft-Versus-Graft Natural Killer Cell Alloreactivity on Single Unit Dominance After Double Umbilical Cord Blood Transplantation

Abstract : BACKGROUND: Natural killer (NK) cell alloreactivity is favored after double umbilical cord blood transplantation (dUCBT) in which cord blood (UCB) units and patients are often HLA class I mismatched. Generally, only 1 UCB unit persists after dUCBT. We hypothesize, that NK cell alloreactivity mediated by killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR)-HLA interactions may explain the dominance of 1UCB unit over the other after dUCBT. METHODS: We investigated the impact of KIR NK cell alloreactivities on the dominance of 1 full UCB unit in 50 dUCBT. We analyzed the effects of the KIR/HLA genetic incompatibilities and studied cord blood cells at both the phenotypic and functional levels. RESULTS: The genetic combination of KIR3DL1 loser UCB unit/Bw4 winner UCB unit determined both the dominance of 1 UCB unit (hazards ratio, 2.88 [1.32-6.27], P = 0.0077) and correlated with an increased incidence of relapse (hazards ratio, 4.91 [1.39-17.3], P = 0.0134). It is interesting to note that cord blood cells exhibited extremely low HLA class I expression. Moreover, resting cord blood KIR3DL1 NK cells exhibited a basal alloreactivity against Bw4 target cells that increased upon activation, thus triggering death by apoptosis. CONCLUSIONS: Our unicentric study suggests, for the first time, the significant impact of KIR NK cell alloreactivity in the determination of which UCB unit will dominate in dUCBT.
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Pauline Rettman, Catherine Willem, Christelle Volteau, Nolwenn Legrand, Patrice Chevallier, et al.. Impact of Graft-Versus-Graft Natural Killer Cell Alloreactivity on Single Unit Dominance After Double Umbilical Cord Blood Transplantation. Transplantation, Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2017, 101 (9), pp.2092 - 2101. ⟨10.1097/TP.0000000000001545⟩. ⟨inserm-01807049⟩

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