Blood Journal
Leading the way in experimental and clinical research in hematology

Depletion of donor lymphocytes by counterflow centrifugation successfully prevents acute graft-versus-host disease in matched allogeneic marrow transplantation

  1. T de Witte,
  2. J Hoogenhout,
  3. B de Pauw,
  4. R Holdrinet,
  5. J Janssen,
  6. J Wessels,
  7. W van Daal,
  8. T Hustinx, and
  9. C Haanen


Bone marrow from 22 histocompatible siblings was depleted of 98% of the lymphocytes using a combination of density flotation centrifugation followed by counterflow elutriation. Even with the marrow suppressive influence of methotrexate (MTX), the viability of the hematopoietic stem cells was not affected, as indicated by the normal repopulation after grafting in the evaluable patients. One patient (UPN 9) showed a primary graft failure, possibly resulting from persisting septicemia and long-term antibiotic therapy. Two patients have persistent host lymphocytes, one of whom was examined during relapse; the other remains in remission. Two patients did not receive immunosuppression after bone marrow transplantation (BMT), and acute graft-v-host disease (GVHD) developed in both. Nine patients received MTX as immunosuppression following BMT. GVHD did not develop in any of them, but fatal infections in the immediate posttransplant period developed in five patients. Eleven patients received cyclosporine (CsA) after transplantation. Beginning in week 5 after BMT, CsA was gradually replaced by MTX. Acute GVHD, substantial chronic GVHD, or fatal infections did not develop in any of these patients. Removal of 98% of the lymphocytes by counterflow centrifugation prevents development of acute GVHD, provided that immunosuppression is administered after BMT. Graft rejection was not observed, but the number of evaluable patients is limited at present.