Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT) is a highly effective, well-established treatment for patients with various hematologic malignancies and non-malignant diseases. The therapeutic benefits of allo-HCT are mediated by alloreactive T cells in donor grafts. However, there is a significant risk of graft-versus-host disease (GvHD), in which the donor T cells recognize recipient cells as foreign and attack healthy organs in addition to malignancies. We previously demonstrated that targeting JAK1/JAK2, mediators of interferon-gamma receptor (IFNGR) and IL-6 receptor signaling, in donor T cells using baricitinib and ruxolitinib results in a significant reduction in GvHD after allo-HCT. Furthermore, we showed that balanced inhibition of JAK1/JAK2 while sparing JAK3 is important for the optimal prevention of GvHD. Thus, we have generated novel JAK1/JAK2 inhibitors, termed WU derivatives, by modifying baricitinib. Our results show that WU derivatives have the potential to mitigate GvHD by upregulating regulatory T cells and immune reconstitution while reducing the frequencies of antigen-presenting cells (APCs) and CD80 expression on these APCs in our preclinical mouse model of allo-HCT. In addition, WU derivatives effectively downregulated CXCR3 and T-bet in primary murine T cells. In summary, we have generated novel JAK inhibitors that could serve as alternatives to baricitinib or ruxolitinib.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1801
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 2024


  • graft-versus-host disease
  • interferon-gamma receptor
  • Janus kinase inhibitor
  • Janus kinases


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