Papeta N, Chen T, Vianella F, et al. Long-term Survival of Transplanted Allogeneic Cells
Engineered to Express a T Cell Chemorepellent. Transplantation. 2007;83:174–183.


Background. Alloantigen specific T cells have been shown to be required for allograft rejection. The chemokine, stromal cell derived factor-1 (SDF-1) at high concentration, has been shown to act as a T-cell chemorepellent and abrogate T-cell infiltration into a site of antigen challenge in vivo via a mechanism termed fugetaxis or chemorepulsion. We postulated that this mechanism could be exploited therapeutically and that allogeneic cells engineered to express a chemorepellent protein would not be rejected.

Methods. Allogeneic murine insulinoma -TC3 cells and primary islets from BALB/C mice were engineered to constitutively secrete differential levels of SDF-1 and transplanted into allogeneic diabetic C57BL/6 mice. Rejection was defined as the permanent return of hyperglycemia and was correlated with the level of T-cell infiltration. The migratory response of T-cells to SDF-1 was also analyzed by transwell migration assay and time-lapse videomicroscopy. The cytotoxicity of cytotoxic T cell (CTLs) against-TC3 cells expressing high levels of SDF-1 was measured in standard and modified chromium-release assays in order to determine the effect of CTL migration on killing efficacy.

Results. Control animals rejected allogeneic cells and remained diabetic. In contrast, high level SDF-1 production by transplanted cells resulted in increased survival of the allograft and a significant reduction in blood glucose levels and T-cell infiltration into the transplanted tissue.

Conclusions. This is the first demonstration of a novel approach that exploits T-cell chemorepulsion to induce site specific immune isolation and thereby overcomes allograft rejection without the use of systemic immunosuppression.

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