Adoptive immunotherapy to increase the level of donor hematopoietic chimerism after nonmyeloablative marrow transplantation for severe canine hereditary hemolytic anemia

Alessandra Takatu, Richard A. Nash, Jan M. Zaucha, Marie Terese Little, George E. Georges, George E. Sale, Eustacia Zellmer, Christian S. Kuhr, Clinton D. Lothrop, Rainer Storb*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Severe hemolytic anemia in Basenji dogs secondary to pyruvate kinase deficiency can be corrected by allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) from littermates with normal hematopoiesis after conventional myeloablative or nonmyeloablative conditioning regimens. If the levels of donor chimerism were low (<20%) after nonmyeloablative HCT, there was only partial correction of the hemolytic anemia. We next addressed whether allogeneic cell therapy after nonmyeloablative HCT would convert mixed to full hematopoietic chimerism, achieve sustained remission from hemolysis, and prevent progression of marrow fibrosis and liver cirrhosis. Three pyruvate kinase-deficient dogs were given HCT from their respective dog leukocyte antigen-identical littermates after nonmyeloablative conditioning with 200 cGy of total body irradiation. Postgrafting immunosuppression consisted of mycophenolate mofetil and cyclosporine. All 3 dogs engrafted and had mixed hematopoietic chimerism with donor levels ranging from 12% to 55% in bone marrow. In 2 of the 3 dogs, there were decreases in the levels of donor chimerism so that at 25 weeks after nonmyeloablative HCT, hemolysis recurred that was associated with increased reticulocyte counts. All 3 dogs then had 2 serial infusions of donor lymphocytes (DLI) from their respective donors at least 20 weeks apart to convert from mixed to full donor chimerism. Both dogs with recurrence of hemolytic anemia after nonmyeloablative HCT achieved higher levels of donor chimerism, with donor contributions ranging from 47% to 62% in the bone marrow and 50% to 69% and 16% to 25% in the granulocyte and mononuclear cell fractions of the peripheral blood, respectively, and with remission of the hemolytic anemia. One dog responded after the first DLI, and 5 weeks after the second DLI, the other dog converted to full donor chimerism. At last follow-up, all these dogs showed clinical improvement, as determined by increasing hematocrits and normal reticulocyte counts. Analysis of the marrow 3 years after HCT showed normal cellularity, a normal myeloid-erythroid ratio, and no or minimal marrow fibrosis. Liver biopsies demonstrated normal histologies with no or minimal fibrosis. We conclude that DLI after nonmyeloablative HCT can increase the levels of donor cells contributing to hematopoiesis in recipients, inducing remissions of the hemolytic process and preventing complications associated with iron overload.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)674-682
Number of pages9
JournalBiology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2003


  • Donor lymphocyte infusions
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Nonmyeloablative transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation
  • Hematology


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