Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) is a potential curative treatment for both congenital and hematological malignancies. Immune reconstitution after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is implicated in successful transplant outcomes such as overall survival and relapse-free survival. The reconstitution of immune cell subsets after HSCT occurs in different phases at different time points encompassing pre-engraftment, engraftment, and post-engraftment. The recovery of innate cellular immunity with the appearance of monocytes, dendritic cells, and natural killer cells in peripheral blood correlates with initiation of cellular engraftment. The cellular adaptive immunity is characterized by both thymic-independent expansion of T cells infused with graft and thymus-dependent expansion of naïve T cells derived from donor stem cells. The humoral immunity consists of B-cell reconstitution, which consists primarily of transitional and naïve subsets with the recovery of memory B cells that occur much later. In this review, we highlight the factors affecting immune reconstitution, the reconstitution of innate and adaptive immunity, techniques to assess immune reconstitution, and ways to enhance it.
Part of the book: Cells of the Immune System