Foxp3-expressing T regulatory cells and mast cells in acute graft-versus-host disease of the skin

Karen N. Wu, Robert V B Emmons, Michael P. Lisanti, John L. Farber, Agnieszka K. Witkiewicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) limits the effectiveness of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Foxp3 is required for the development and function of CD4+/CD25+ regulatory T cells (T-regs). Foxp3-expressing T-regs are thought to protect against GVHD. Mast cells are thought to be essential in CD4+/CD25+ regulatory T cell-dependent peripheral tolerance. Twenty biopsies of skin with grades I-III aGVHD were stained for Foxp3 and CD117. Inflammation was quantified by a 4 point scale, 0 = no inflammation, 1 = <25% of 20x field, 2 = 25-50%, and 3 = >50%. T-regs and mast cells were quantified by a 4 point scale, 0 = no cells per 20x field, 1 = <5 cells per 20x field, 2 = 5-10 cells, and 3 = >10 cells. T-regs were positively correlated with both inflammation and aGVHD grade. Twelve cases with low T-regs had mild inflammation and lower grades of aGVHD and 6 cases with high T-regs had dense inflammatory infiltrate and higher grades of aGVHD. The number of T-regs, mast cells and density of the inflammatory infiltrate were positively correlated only in cases with mild inflammation. In aGVHD of the skin, T-regs increased with the degree of inflammation and GVHD grade. Mast cells were present at the same density whether aGVHD was of lower or higher grade.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3601-3605
Number of pages5
JournalCell Cycle
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2009


  • Foxp3
  • Graft-versus-host disease
  • Mast cells
  • T-regulatory cells
  • Tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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