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Circulation. 2002 Oct 22;106(17):2218-23.

Allograft inflammatory factor-1 expression correlates with cardiac rejection and development of cardiac allograft vasculopathy.

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Department of Physiology, Cardiovascular Research Group, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pa. 19140, USA.



Standard morphological features of endomyocardial biopsy specimens do not necessarily correlate with the efficacy of immunotherapy or development of cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV). We hypothesized that expression of allograft inflammatory factor-1 (AIF-1), a cytokine-inducible, calcium-binding protein associated with vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation, would be associated with allograft rejection and development of CAV.


A total of 157 endomyocardial biopsy specimens from 26 patients with heart transplants were examined for expression of AIF-1 mRNA by semiquantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. A significant relation was found between the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation rejection grade and expression of AIF-1 (P<0.001). The calculated odds ratio indicates that a biopsy has 2.5 times the chance of AIF-1 expression per grade of rejection. The relative concentrations of AIF-1 and GAPDH mRNA were calculated and the resulting ratios indicated that the amount of AIF-1 mRNA expression is relative to the rejection grade (P<0.02). In grade 1 biopsy specimens, AIF-1 was localized to infiltrating immune cells. In grade 3 biopsy specimens, AIF-1 was observed in immune cells and myocytes. AIF-1 is expressed in vascular and immune cells in coronary arteries with CAV, and persistent expression of AIF-1 in the allograft correlates with development of CAV (P<0.002).


Expression of AIF-1 in cardiac allografts correlates with rejection, and the amount of AIF-1 expressed correlates with the severity of rejection. AIF-1 is expressed in coronary arteries with CAV, and persistent expression of AIF-1 in the cardiac allograft is associated with development of CAV.

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