Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation for patients with treatment-refractory Crohn's Disease

George B. McDonald*, Ole J.B. Landsverk, Dermot P.B. McGovern, Anders Aasebø, Vemund Paulsen, Talin Haritunians, Henrik M. Reims, Bernadette M. McLaughlin, Timothy Zisman, Dalin Li, Elisabeth T.M.M. Elholm, Frode L. Jahnsen, George E. Georges, Tobias Gedde-Dahl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background & aims: Durable remissions of Crohn's Disease (CD) have followed myeloablative conditioning therapy and allogeneic marrow transplantation. For patients with treatment-refractory disease, we used reduced-intensity conditioning to minimize toxicity, marrow from donors with low Polygenic Risk Scores for CD as cell sources, and protracted immune suppression to lower the risk of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Our aim was to achieve durable CD remissions while minimizing transplant-related complications. Methods: DNA from patients and their HLA-matched unrelated donors was genotyped and Polygenic Risk Scores calculated. Donor marrow was infused following non-myeloablative conditioning. Patient symptoms and endoscopic findings were documented at intervals after transplant. Results: We screened 807 patients, 143 of whom met eligibility criteria; 2 patients received allografts. Patient 1 had multiple complications and died at day 332 from respiratory failure. Patient 2 had resolution of CD symptoms until day 178 when CD recurred, associated with persistent host chimerism in both peripheral blood and intestinal mucosa. Withdrawal of immune suppression was followed by dominant donor immune chimerism in peripheral blood and resolution of CD findings. Over time, mucosal T-cells became donor-dominant. At 5 years after allografting, Patient 2 remained off all medications but had mild symptoms related to a jejunal stricture that required stricturoplasty at 6 years. At 8 years, she remains stable off medications. Conclusions: The kinetics of immunologic chimerism after allogeneic marrow transplantation for CD patients depends on the intensity of the conditioning regimen and the magnitude of immune suppression. One patient achieved durable improvement of her previously refractory CD only after establishing donor immunologic chimerism in intestinal mucosa. Her course provides proof-of-principal for allografting as a potential treatment for refractory CD, but an immunoablative conditioning regimen should be considered for future studies. (,

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere24026
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 15 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Crohn's disease
  • Mucosal immune chimerism
  • Outcomes
  • Polygenic risk score
  • Reduced-intensity conditioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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