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Am J Pathol. 2001 May;158(5):1703-11.

Cxcr3 and its ligand CXCL10 are expressed by inflammatory cells infiltrating lung allografts and mediate chemotaxis of T cells at sites of rejection.

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Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Padua University School of Medicine, Padua, Italy.


The attraction of T lymphocytes into the pulmonary parenchyma represents an essential step in mechanisms ultimately leading to lung allograft rejection. In this study we evaluated whether IP-10 (CXCL10), a chemokine that is induced by interferon-gamma and stimulates the directional migration of activated T cells, plays a role in regulating the trafficking of effector T cells during lung allograft rejection episodes. Immunohistochemical examination showed that areas characterized by acute cellular rejection (grades 1 to 4) and active obliterative bronchiolitis (chronic rejection, Ca) were infiltrated by T cells expressing CXCR3, i.e., the specific receptor for CXCL10. In parallel, T cells accumulating in the bronchoalveolar lavage of lung transplant recipients with rejection episodes were CXCR3+ and exhibited a strong in vitro migratory capability in response to CXCL10. In lung biopsies, CXCL10 was abundantly expressed by graft-infiltrating macrophages and occasionally by epithelial cells. Alveolar macrophages expressed and secreted definite levels of CXCL10 capable of inducing chemotaxis of the CXCR3+ T-cell line 300-19; the secretory capability of alveolar macrophages was up-regulated by preincubation with interferon-gamma. Interestingly, striking levels of CXCR3 ligands could be demonstrated in the fluid component of the bronchoalveolar lavage in individuals with rejection episodes. These data indicate the role of the CXCR3/CXCL10 interactions in the recruitment of lymphocytes at sites of lung rejection and provide a rationale for the use of agents that block the CXCR3/CXCL10 axis in the treatment of lung allograft rejection.

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