Clinical application of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) has been limited by toxicity related to cytoreductive conditioning and immune response. In utero hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (IUHSCT) is a nonablative approach that achieves mixed chimerism and donor-specific tolerance but has been limited by minimal engraftment. We hypothesized that mixed chimerism achieved by IUHSCT could be enhanced after birth by nonmyeloablative total body irradiation (TBI) followed by same-donor BMT. To test this hypothesis, mixed chimerism was created by IUHSCT in a major histocompatibility complex-mismatched strain combination. After birth, chimeric animals received nonmyeloablative TBI followed by transplantation of donor congenic bone marrow cells. Our results show that: (1) low-level chimerism after IUHSCT can be enhanced to high-level chimerism by this strategy; (2) enhancement of chimerism is dependent on dose of TBI; (3) the mechanism of TBI enhancement is via a transient competitive advantage for nonirradiated hematopoietic stem cells; (4) engraftment observed in the tolerant, fully allogeneic IUHSC transplant recipient is equivalent to a congenic recipient; and (5) host-reactive donor lymphocytes are deleted with no evidence of graft-versus-host disease. This study supports the concept of prenatal tolerance induction to facilitate nonmyeloablative postnatal strategies for cellular therapy. If clinically applicable, such an approach could dramatically expand the application of IUHSCT.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology