To determine the degree of graft versus host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis that might be necessary if cord blood (CB) transplantation is more widely applied, we compared human cord blood mononuclear cell (CBMC) and adult peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) proliferative responses and stimulatory capabilities; to examine the utility of UVB irradiation for GVHD prophylaxis, we compared proliferative responses, antigen-presenting cell (APC) stimulatory functions, and cytokine production by untreated and UVB-irradiated CBMCs. The two cell types, CBMC and PBMC, proliferated equally both in response to phytohemagglutinin (PHA) and alloantigen in mixed lymphocyte culture (MLC). Cord blood stimulatory function in MLC was significantly (P<0.05) reduced to 60% of PBMC stimulatory capability. Ultraviolet-B irradiation at a dose of 100 J/m2 of CBMCs significantly (P<0.01) inhibited PHA stimulation by 79.4%, reduced responder activity in MLC by 75.8%, and inhibited stimulatory activity in MLC by 65.6% as compared with the activity shown by untreated CBMCs. The same dose of UVB preserved 59.9% of CFU-GM and 65.9% of BFU-E colony growth as compared with untreated CBMCs. Production of lymphokines (IL-2, GM-CSF, LIF, and γ-IFN) by PHA-stimulated CBMCs was decreased, but monokine (IL-lβ and IL-6) production was unchanged. We conclude that UVB irradiation at a dose of 100 J/m2 inhibits CB lymphocyte activation and preserves the cellular growth potential of CB hematopoietic progenitor cells.
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