Immune Reconstitution after Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation in Children

Coco de Koning, Maud Plantinga, Paul Besseling, Jaap Jan Boelens, Stefan Nierkens

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Allogeneic (allo) hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) has evolved into a potent curative treatment option for a variety of malignant and nonmalignant diseases. The occurrence of complications and mortality after allo-HCT is, however, still high and is strongly associated with immune reconstitution (IR). Therefore, detailed information on IR through immunomonitoring is crucial to improve survival chances after HCT. To date, information about the reconstituting immune system after allo-HCT in pediatric patients is mostly derived from routine standard-of-care measurements. More profound knowledge on IR may provide tools to better predict and modulate adverse reactions and, subsequently, improve survival chances. Here, we provide an overview of IR (eg, immune cell subsets and circulating chemokines/cytokines) after allo-HCT in children, taking into account different cell sources and serotherapy, and discuss strategies to enhance immunomonitoring. We conclude that available IR data after allo-HCT contain limited information on immune cell families (mostly only generic T, B, and NK cells), which would improve with more detailed information on reconstituting cell subsets or effector cell functionality at earlier time points (<1 month). In addition, secretome data (eg, multiplex cytokine/chemokine profiles) could add to the understanding of IR mechanisms and cell functionality and may even provide (early) biomarkers for individual disease outcome, such as viral reactivity, graft-versus-host disease, or graft-versus-leukemia. The present data and suggestions for more detailed, standardized, and harmonized immunomonitoring in future (pediatric) allo-HCT studies will pave the path to "precision transplantation:" an individualized HCT approach (including conditioning), based on detailed information on IR and biomarkers, aiming to reduce transplantation related mortality and relapse, and subsequently improve survival chances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-206
Number of pages12
JournalBiology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation
  • Biomarkers
  • Immune reconstitution
  • Pediatric patients
  • Secretome
  • Serotherapy


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