Previously, five CTL lines directed against minor histocompatibility (mH) antigens designated HA-1-5 have been established from peripheral blood of patients after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT), and have been characterized using population and family studies. All cell lines showed specific HLA class I-restricted lysis of PHA-stimulated peripheral blood target cells from donors positive for the particular mH antigens. After 4 h of incubation of the mH antigen HA-3-specific CTL line with bone marrow cells from HA-3+ donors, complete class I-restricted inhibition of colony growth of the hematopoietic progenitor cells was observed even at low E/T ratios, indicating that the HA-3 antigen is strongly expressed on hematopoietic stem cells. Therefore, this antigen may be a target structure in the immune-mediated rejection of the hematopoietic graft in case of incompatibility for this determinant between donor and recipient in allogeneic BMT. In contrast, incubation of bone marrow cells with the antigen-specific anti-HA-1, -2, -4, and -5 CTL lines did not result in growth inhibition of the hematopoietic progenitor cells tested. After a prolonged incubation time and using a very high E/T ratio, progenitor cells from HA-2+ or HA-5+ donors were killed to some extent by the anti-mH-specific CTL lines, although the growth inhibition observed was minor and variable. Our results show that mH antigens are differentially expressed on human hematopoietic progenitor cells. Therefore, only some of these antigens may be targets in immune-mediated rejection of the bone marrow graft.

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