Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is the most effective therapy for hematopoietic malignancies through T-cell-mediated graft-vs-leukemia (GVL) effects but often leads to severe graft-vs-host disease (GVHD). Given that protein kinase Cu (PKCθ), in cooperation with PKCα , is essential for T-cell signaling and function, we have evaluated PKCθ and PKCα as potential therapeutic targets in allogeneic HCT using genetic and pharmacologic approaches. We found that the ability of PKCα-/-/θ-/- donor T cells to induce GVHD was further reduced compared with PKCθ -/- T cells in relation with the relevance of both isoforms to allogeneic donor T-cell proliferation, cytokine production, andmigration to GVHD target organs. Treatment with a specific inhibitor for both PKCθ and PKCα impaired donor T-cell proliferation, migration, and chemokine/cytokine production and significantly decreased GVHD in myeloablative preclinical murine models of allogeneic HCT. Moreover, pharmacologic inhibition of PKCθ and PKCα spared T-cell cytotoxic function and GVL effects. Our findings indicate that PKCα and u contribute to T-cell activation with overlapping functions essential for GVHD induction while less critical to the GVL effect. Thus, targeting PKCα and PKCθ signaling with pharmacologic inhibitors presents a therapeutic option for GVHD prevention while largely preserving the GVL activity in patients receiving HCT. (Blood. 2013;122(14):2500-2511).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology