The development of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) can be modified by non-MHC factors. Based on our previous studies that showed an involvement of 70 kD heat shock protein (hsp70) in the pathology of acute GVHD in a rat model, we determined serum levels of antibodies to hsp70, hsp90 and hsp60 in human recipients after allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (PBSCT). Serum levels of these antibodies were correlated with GVHD status in the recipients. Twenty-nine recipients with high-risk haematological malignances, who received G-CSF mobilized allogeneic PBSCT from HLA matched family donors, were evaluated between 30 and 960 days after transplantation. Two recipients had no GVHD, 18 developed acute followed by chronic GVHD and nine developed only chronic GVHD. Patients with acute GVHD had a significant increase in IgM anti-hsp70 and/or anti-hsp90 early (30-90 days) after transplantation. In addition, an increase in IgM anti-hsp70 and/or anti-hsp90 antibodies preceded or accompanied chronic GVHD. Antibody levels returned to normal within the next 400 days in the majority of patients. Anti-hsp60 antibody levels were not different from control levels regardless of GVHD status. This study implies that the development of acute and/or chronic GVHD in humans is accompanied by an increase in anti-hsp70 and anti-hsp90 antibodies. Monitoring levels of anti-hsp70 and anti-hsp90 antibodies in stem cell transplant recipients may serve as a diagnostic tool and help to predict the onset of GVHD.
- PBSC transplantation