Graft versus host disease

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Graft versus host disease (GVHD) is the result of transplanted lymphoid tissue mounting an immunological response against the host tissue. It is most common in allogeneic bone marrow transplantation where haematopoietic bone marrow stem cells are the desired 'organ' for transplantation. It signifies that the donated bone marrow cells have been able to establish themselves and flourish, i.e. a successful transplant, but unfortunately begins to do its natural task of identifying and attacking 'foreign' antigens of the host. The condition may also be seen in solid organ transplantation when donor immune cells are inadvertently are carried within the solid organ.

It is treated with immunosuppressive therapy.

Interestingly, GvHD can occur very rarely in autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation[1] due to dysregulation of T-regulatory cells.

Clinical Features

Acute versus Chronic.

Depends on the organ system affected. Common sites include the liver as well as epithelial surfaces, including the skin, gastrointestinal tract and genitourinary tract.


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