Graft loss from chronic rejection has become the major obstacle to the long-term success of whole organ transplantation. In cardiac allografts, chronic rejection is manifested as a diffuse and accelerated form of arteriosclerosis, termed cardiac allograft vasculopathy. It has been suggested that T-cell recognition of processed alloantigens (allopeptides) presented by recipient antigen-presenting cells through the indirect pathway of allorecognition plays a critical role in the development and progression of chronic rejection. However, definitive preclinical evidence to support this hypothesis is lacking. To examine the role of indirect allorecognition in a clinically relevant large animal model of cardiac allograft vasculopathy, we immunized MHC inbred miniature swine with synthetic polymorphic peptides spanning the α1 domain of an allogeneic donor-derived swine leukocyte antigen class I gene. Pigs immunized with swine leukocyte antigen class I allopeptides showed in vitro proliferative responses and in vivo delayed-type hypersensitivity responses to the allogeneic peptides. Donor MHC class I disparate hearts transplanted into peptide-immunized cyclosporine-treated pigs not only rejected faster than unimmunized cyclosporine-treated controls (mean survival time = 5.5 +/-1.7 vs, 54.7 +/-3.8 days, P < 0.001), but they also developed obstructive fibroproliferative coronary artery lesions much earlier than unimmunized controls (<9 vs. >30 days). These results definitively link indirect allorecognition and cardiac allograft vasculopathy.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Mar 13 2001|
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