Decoy lymphotoxin β receptor (LTβR) has potent immune inhibitory activities and thus represents a promising biologic for the treatment of inflammation, autoimmune diseases, and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). As this reagent interrupts multiple molecular interactions, including LTβ-LTβR and LIGHT-HVEM/LTβR, underlying molecular mechanisms have yet to be fully understood. In this study, we demonstrate that blockade of the LIGHT-HVEM pathway is sufficient to induce amelioration of GVHD in mouse models. Anti-host cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) activity following in vivo transfer of allogeneic lymphocytes was completely abrogated when LIGHT- or HVEM-deficient (KO) T cells were used as donor cells. Accordingly, survival of the recipient mice following the transfer of allogeneic bone marrow cells plus LIGHT-KO or HVEM-KO T cells was significantly prolonged. In the absence of LIGHT-HVEM costimulation, alloreactive donor T cells undergo vigorous apoptosis while their proliferative potential remains intact. Furthermore, we prepared a neutralizing monoclonal antibody (mAb) specific to HVEM and showed that administration of anti-HVEM mAb profoundly ameliorated GVHD and led to complete hematopoietic chimerism with donor cells. Collectively, our results demonstrate an indispensable role of LIGHT-HVEM costimulation in the pathogenesis of GVHD and illustrate a novel target for selective immunotherapy in allogeneic bone marrow transplantation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology