Transplantation 2019 11;103(11):2264-2274
Department of Internal Medicine, Duke University, Durham, NC.
Background: Chronic pulmonary graft-versus-host disease (cpGVHD) after hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) manifests as progressive airway and parenchymal lung fibrosis. On the basis of our prior data, mice that undergo allogeneic HCT with Tbet-knockout donors (AlloTbet) have increased lung Th17 cells and IL-17A and develop fibrosis resembling human cpGVHD. The role of IL-17A in posttransplant pulmonary fibrosis remains incompletely understood. We hypothesized that IL-17A is necessary for development of murine cpGVHD in this model.
Methods: AlloTbet mice received weekly intraperitoneal anti-IL-17A or IgG (200 μg/mouse) starting 2 weeks post-HCT and were sacrificed after week 5. Histologic airway and parenchymal fibrosis were semiquantitatively graded in a blinded fashion. Lung cells and proteins were measured by flow cytometry, ELISA, and multicytokine assays.
Results: Anti-IL-17A modestly decreased airway and parenchymal lung fibrosis, along with a striking reduction in pulmonary neutrophilia, IL-6, MIP-1α, MIP-1β, CXCL1, and CXCL5 in AlloTbet mice. Additionally, anti-IL-17A decreased CCL2, inflammatory monocytes and macrophages, and Th17 cells.
Conclusions: In the setting of murine AlloHCT with Tbet donors, IL-17A blockade decreases fibrotic features of cpGVHD. This may be mediated by the observed reduction in neutrophils or specific lung monocyte and macrophage populations or alternatively via a direct effect on fibroblasts. Collectively, our results further suggest that anti-IL-17A strategies could prove useful in preventing alloimmune-driven fibrotic lung diseases.