There is persistent immunosuppression not only in allogeneic but also in autologous stem cell transplantation because humoral and cellular immunity may take a year or more to return to normal, with increased risk of infectious complications. This immune defect may also involve antigen presentation, in particular dendritic cell (DC) function. We evaluated DC subset reconstitution in 58 patients who underwent bone marrow (BM) or peripheral blood (PB) autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). In all patients DC type 1 (DC1) and DC type 2 (DC2) were already significantly lower than in normal individuals before conditioning therapy (DC1/μl 3.1 ± 1.0, DC2/μl 3.0 ± 1.1). On day 0 and day +7 the mean DC1 and DC2 numbers were very low in both groups. Patients who received unmanipulated marrow or peripheral blood stem cells reached pre-conditioning levels of DC1 and DC2 cells on day +20. In patients receiving selected CD34 cells, DC increased slowly and pre-transplant counts were observed only on day +60. Nearly 'normal' levels of DC1 and DC2 could be observed in the first group from day +180, and were maintained thereafter; in CD34+ selected patients DC1 and DC2 counts remained lower than normal. Our data emphasise that circulating antigen presenting cells (APC) recover quickly. It remains to be determined if DC frequency in PB reflects their tissue function. The relatively low incidence of infections in patients undergoing autologous transplantation, despite defective lymphocyte reconstitution, could be related to functionally efficient DC.
- Autologous stem cell transplantation
- Dendritic cell
- Immunological recovery
ASJC Scopus subject areas