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Transplantation. 1998 May 27;65(10):1298-304.

Cytomegalovirus infection enhances the neointima formation in rat aortic allografts: effect of major histocompatibility complex class I and class II antigen differences.

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  • 1Department of Medical Microbiology, Cardiovascular Institute Maastricht, University of Maastricht, The Netherlands.



The development of chronic rejection has emerged as a major cause of long-term graft failure. Previous studies have demonstrated that cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is associated with an increased incidence of chronic allograft rejection in renal, cardiac, and aortic allografts. This study was designed to investigate the effects of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I or class II mismatches on CMV-enhanced chronic rejection.


Aortic transplantation was performed between different inbred rat strain combinations; the Lewis to RP combination was class I-mismatched and Wag/Rij to RP class II-mismatched. At 7, 28, and 90 days after transplantation, the intensity of chronic rejection in mismatched grafts with or without CMV infection was evaluated using histological and immunohistological analysis.


The results of this study demonstrated that CMV infection led to an increased influx of monocytes/ macrophages in class I-mismatched grafts at 1 week after transplantation and enhanced infiltration of T lymphocytes in class II-mismatched grafts at 4 weeks. Although more vascular lesions were observed in the class II-mismatched combinations, an intensified neointima formation by CMV infection was observed only in the MHC class I-mismatched allografts.


CMV infection may increase neointima formation of allografts when an MHC class I disparity between donor and recipient is present. This may be associated with the increased perivascular influx of monocytes/macrophages observed in CMV-infected animals early after transplantation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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