Targeting Glycolysis in Alloreactive T Cells to Prevent Acute Graft-Versus-Host Disease While Preserving Graft-Versus-Leukemia Effect.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Alloreactive donor T cells undergo extensive metabolic reprogramming to become activated and induce graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) upon alloantigen encounter. It is generally thought that glycolysis, which promotes T cell growth and clonal expansion, is employed in this process. However, conflicting data have been reported regarding the requirement of glycolysis to induce T cell-mediated GVHD due to the lack of T cell-specific treatments using glycolysis inhibitors. Importantly, previous studies have not evaluated whether graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) activity is preserved in donor T cells deficient for glycolysis. As a critical component affecting the clinical outcome, it is necessary to assess the anti-tumor activity following treatment with metabolic modulators in preclinical models. In the present study, we utilized T cells selectively deficient for glucose transporter 1 (Glut1T-KO), to examine the role of glycolysis exclusively in alloreactive T cells without off-targeting effects from antigen presenting cells and other cell types that are dependent on glycolysis. We demonstrated that transfer of Glut1T-KO T cells significantly improved acute GVHD outcomes through increased apoptotic rates, impaired expansion, and decreased proinflammatory cytokine production. In addition to impaired GVHD development, donor Glut1T-KO T cells mediated sufficient GVL activity to protect recipients from tumor development. A clinically relevant approach using donor T cells treated with a small molecule inhibitor of glycolysis, 2-Deoxy-D-glucose ex vivo, further demonstrated protection from tumor development. These findings indicate that treatment with glycolysis inhibitors prior to transplantation selectively eliminates alloreactive T cells, but spares non-alloreactive T cells including those that protect against tumor growth. The present study has established a definitive role for glycolysis in acute GVHD and demonstrated that acute GVHD can be selectively prevented through targeting glycolysis.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Huang, Y; Zou, Y; Jiao, Y; Shi, P; Nie, X; Huang, W; Xiong, C; Choi, M; Huang, C; Macintyre, AN; Nichols, A; Li, F; Li, C-Y; MacIver, NJ; Cardona, DM; Brennan, TV; Li, Z; Chao, NJ; Rathmell, JC; Chen, BJ

Published Date

  • 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 13 /

Start / End Page

  • 751296 -

PubMed ID

  • 35296079

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8920494

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1664-3224

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3389/fimmu.2022.751296


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Switzerland