Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a serious side effect of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, which is a common treatment for blood disorders and hematologic malignancies, was still a problem. For a study, researchers sought to reveal an unanticipated benefit of the cytokine leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) in preventing the development of GVHD. 

Recombinant LIF protein (rLIF) administration shields animals against GVHD-induced tissue damage and mortality without impairing the graft-versus-leukemia activity, which is essential to avoid tumor relapse. According to the research, rLIF preserves intestinal stem cells, reduces donor immune cell infiltration and activation, and lessens GVHD. 

The major histocompatibility complex II levels on intestinal epithelial cells were decreased, and donor T-cell activation and infiltration were also reduced as a result of the way that rLIF, after radiotherapy, downregulates the expression of IL-12-p40 in recipient dendritic cells by activating STAT1 signaling. 

The study indicated a protective role for LIF in GVHD-induced tissue pathology that was previously unknown, and it offered a possible effective treatment approach to reduce tissue pathology without reducing antileukemic effectiveness.