Pharmacologic Inhibition of Pkc Alpha and Pkc Theta Prevents Gvhd While Preserving Gvl Activity in Mice Academic Article uri icon


  • Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is the most effective therapy for hematopoietic malignancies through T-cell-mediated graft-vs-leukemia (GVL) effects but often leads to severe graft-vs-host disease (GVHD). Given that protein kinase Cθ (PKCθ), in cooperation with PKCα, is essential for T-cell signaling and function, we have evaluated PKCθ and PKCα as potential therapeutic targets in allogeneic HCT using genetic and pharmacologic approaches. We found that the ability of PKCα(-/-)/θ(-/-) donor T cells to induce GVHD was further reduced compared with PKCθ(-/-) T cells in relation with the relevance of both isoforms to allogeneic donor T-cell proliferation, cytokine production, and migration to GVHD target organs. Treatment with a specific inhibitor for both PKCθ and PKCα impaired donor T-cell proliferation, migration, and chemokine/cytokine production and significantly decreased GVHD in myeloablative preclinical murine models of allogeneic HCT. Moreover, pharmacologic inhibition of PKCθ and PKCα spared T-cell cytotoxic function and GVL effects. Our findings indicate that PKCα and θ contribute to T-cell activation with overlapping functions essential for GVHD induction while less critical to the GVL effect. Thus, targeting PKCα and PKCθ signaling with pharmacologic inhibitors presents a therapeutic option for GVHD prevention while largely preserving the GVL activity in patients receiving HCT.

publication date

  • 2013-10-01

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