Allograft inflammatory factor-1 (AIF-1), a cytokine-responsive macrophage molecule, was originally identified and cloned from rat cardiac allografts with chronic cardiac rejection. We performed the present study to determine whether AIF-1 was also involved in the inflammatory response associated with human cardiac transplant rejection. AIF-1 gene transcripts were identified by the reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction in endomyocardial biopsy specimens from human heart transplants and in macrophage cell lines. In the 441-base pair coding region of the human and rat cDNAs, the nucleotide sequences were 86% identical and the deduced amino acid sequences were 90% identical. Consistent with our studies in the rat, AIF-1 was selectively expressed in human macrophage-like cell lines, and immunostaining in human heart allografts localized the AIF-1 gene product to a subset of CD68+ macrophages in the interstitial and perivascular spaces. The parallels between rat and human AIF-1 expression suggest that AIF-1 may have a common effect on the function of activated macrophages in cardiac allografts.
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