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Braz J Med Biol Res. 2001 Jun;34(6):779-84.

Expression of CD40 ligand, interferon-gamma and Fas ligand genes in endomyocardial biopsies of human cardiac allografts: correlation with acute rejection.

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Departamento de Pediatria, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brasil.


The purpose of the present study was to investigate the expression (mRNA) of CD40 ligand (CD40L), interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) and Fas ligand (FasL) genes in human cardiac allografts in relation to the occurrence of acute cardiac allograft rejection as well as its possible value in predicting acute rejection. The mRNA levels were determined by a semiquantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction method in 39 samples of endomyocardial biopsies obtained from 10 adult cardiac transplant recipients within the first six months after transplantation. Biopsies with ongoing acute rejection showed significantly higher CD40L, IFN-gamma and FasL mRNA expression than biopsies without rejection. The median values of mRNA expression in biopsies with and without rejection were 0.116 and zero for CD40L (P<0.003), 0.080 and zero for IFN-gamma (P<0.0009), and 0.156 and zero for FasL (P<0.002), respectively. In addition, the levels of IFN-gamma mRNA were significantly increased 7 to 15 days before the appearance of histological evidence of rejection (median of 0.086 in pre-rejection biopsies), i.e., they presented a predictive value. This study provides further evidence of heightened expression of immune activation genes during rejection and shows that some of these markers may present predictive value for the occurrence of acute rejection.

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