Mannan-Binding Lectin Promotes Murine Graft-versus-Host Disease by Amplifying Lipopolysaccharide-Initiated Inflammation

David Heja, Dongchang Zhao, Evan Cody, Arun Cumpelik, Pik Chin Lim, Mariano Prado-Acosta, Liv Palma, Sergio Dellepiane, Nicholas Chun, James Ferrara, Peter S. Heeger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Conditioning regimens used for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT) can escalate the severity of acute T cell-mediated graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) by disrupting gastrointestinal integrity and initiating lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-dependent innate immune cell activation. Activation of the complement cascade has been associated with murine GVHD, and previous work has shown that alternative pathway complement activation can amplify T cell immunity. Whether and how mannan-binding lectin (MBL), a component of the complement system that binds mannose as well as oligosaccharide components of LPS and lipoteichoic acid, affects GVHD is unknown. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that MBL modulates murine GVHD and examined the mechanisms by which it does so. We adoptively transferred C3.SW bone marrow (BM) cells ± T cells into irradiated wild type (WT) or MBL-deficient C57Bl/6 (B6) recipients with or without inhibiting MBL-initiated complement activation using C1-esterase inhibitor (C1-INH). We analyzed the clinical severity of disease expression and analyzed intestinal gene and cell infiltration. In vitro studies assessed MBL expression on antigen-presenting cells (APCs) and compared LPS-induced responses of WT and MBL-deficient APCs. MBL-deficient recipients of donor BM ± T cells exhibited significantly less weight loss over the first 2 weeks post-transplantation weeks compared with B6 controls (P < .05), with similar donor engraftment in the 2 groups. In recipients of C3.SW BM + T cells, the clinical expression of GVHD was less severe (P < .05) and overall survival was better (P < .05) in MBL-deficient mice compared with WT mice. On day-7 post-transplantation, analyses showed that the MBL-deficient recipients exhibited less intestinal IL1b, IL17, and IL12 p40 gene expression (P < .05 for each) and fewer infiltrating intestinal CD11c+, CD11b+, and F4/80+ cells and TCRβ+, CD4+, CD4+IL17+, and CD8+ T cells (P < .05 for each). Ovalbumin or allogeneic cell immunizations induced equivalent T cell responses in MBL-deficient and WT mice, demonstrating that MBL-deficiency does not directly impact T cell immunity in the absence of irradiation conditioning. Administration of C1-INH did not alter the clinical expression of GVHD in preconditioned WT B6 recipients, suggesting that MBL amplifies clinical expression of GVHD via a complement-independent mechanism. WT, but not MBL-deficient, APCs express MBL on their surfaces. LPS-stimulated APCs from MBL-deficient mice produced less proinflammatory cytokines (P < .05) and induced weaker alloreactive T cell responses (P < .05) compared with WT APCs. Together, our data show that MBL modulates murine GVHD, likely by amplifying complement-independent, LPS-initiated gastrointestinal inflammation. The results suggest that devising strategies to block LPS/MBL ligation on APCs has the potential to reduce the clinical expression of GVHD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)472.e1-472.e11
JournalTransplantation and Cellular Therapy
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Acute GVHD
  • Complement
  • LPS
  • Mannan-binding lectin


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