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J Immunol. 2002 Jul 1;169(1):522-30.

Analysis of the innate and adaptive phases of allograft rejection by cluster analysis of transcriptional profiles.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Immunology, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Both clinical and experimental observations suggest that allograft rejection is a complex process with multiple components that are, at least partially, functionally redundant. Studies using graft recipients deficient in various genes including chemokines, cytokines, and other immune-associated genes frequently produce a phenotype of delayed, but not indefinitely prevented, rejection. Only a small subset of genetic deletions (for example, TCR(alpha) or beta, MHC I and II, B7-1 and B7-2, and recombinase-activating gene) permit permanent graft acceptance suggesting that rejection is orchestrated by a complex network of interrelated inflammatory and immune responses. To investigate this complex process, we have used oligonucleotide microarrays to generate quantitative mRNA expression profiles following transplantation. Patterns of gene expression were confirmed with real-time PCR data. Hierarchical clustering algorithms clearly differentiated the early and late phases of rejection. Self-organizing maps identified clusters of coordinately regulated genes. Genes up-regulated during the early phase included genes with prior biological functions associated with ischemia, injury, and Ag-independent innate immunity, whereas genes up-regulated in the late phase were enriched for genes associated with adaptive immunity.

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