CMV infection remains an important cause of morbidity and mortality after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT). Several investigators have reported that adaptive NKG2C+ NK cells persistently expand during CMV reactivation. In our study, 2 cohorts were enrolled to explore the relationships among the NKG2C genotype, NKG2C+ NK cell reconstitution, and CMV infection. Multivariate analysis showed that donor NKG2C gene deletion was an independent prognostic factor for CMV reactivation and refractory CMV reactivation. Furthermore, adaptive NKG2C+ NK cells’ quantitative and qualitative reconstitution, along with their anti-CMV function after transplantation, was significantly lower in patients grafted with NKG2Cwt/del donor cells than in those grafted with NKG2Cwt/wt donor cells. At day 30 after transplantation, quantitative reconstitution of NKG2C+ NK cells was significantly lower in patients with treatment-refractory CMV reactivation than in patients without CMV reactivation and those with nonrefractory CMV reactivation. In humanized CMV-infected mice, we found that, compared with those from NKG2Cwt/del donors, adaptive NKG2C+ NK cells from NKG2Cwt/wt donors induced earlier and stronger expansion of NKG2C+ NK cells as well as earlier and stronger CMV clearance in vivo. In conclusion, donor NKG2C homozygosity contributes to CMV clearance by promoting the quantitative and qualitative reconstruction of adaptive NKG2C+ NK cells after haploidentical allo-HSCT.
Xing-Xing Yu, Qian-Nan Shang, Xue-Fei Liu, Mei He, Xu-Ying Pei, Xiao-Dong Mo, Meng Lv, Ting-Ting Han, Ming-Rui Huo, Xiao-Su Zhao, Ying-Jun Chang, Yu Wang, Xiao-Hui Zhang, Lan-Ping Xu, Kai-Yan Liu, Xiang-Yu Zhao, Xiao-Jun Huang