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Am J Pathol. 2003 Feb;162(2):509-19.

Neutrophils mediate parenchymal tissue necrosis and accelerate the rejection of complete major histocompatibility complex-disparate cardiac allografts in the absence of interferon-gamma.

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Urological Institute and Department of Immunology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH 44195-0001, USA.


A major feature of acute rejection of cardiac allografts is an intense mononuclear cell infiltration accompanied by interferon (IFN)-gamma production. In the current study we tested the role of IFN-gamma in acute rejection of allografts by comparing the histopathology of rejection in wild-type versus IFN-gamma-/- recipients of major histocompatibility complex-mismatched cardiac grafts. Wild-type recipients rejected the allografts at days 8 to 9 after transplant but rejection was accelerated 2 to 3 days in IFN-gamma-deficient recipients. During rejection in wild-type recipients, the allografts were heavily infiltrated with CD8+ T cells and other mononuclear cells. In contrast, allografts in IFN-gamma-deficient recipients had few T cells but an intense neutrophil infiltration accompanied by extensive graft parenchymal necrosis. No difference in expression levels of neutrophil chemoattractants including Groalpha/KC, MIP-2, GCP-2, and MIP-1alpha, was observed in allografts retrieved from wild-type and IFN-gamma-/- recipients. Depletion of neutrophils from IFN-gamma-deficient recipients delayed rejection until days 8 to 10 after transplant and restored the histopathology of acute allograft rejection to that observed in allografts rejected by wild-type recipients. These results indicate the potent regulatory properties of IFN-gamma during acute rejection directed at neutrophil infiltration into allografts and mediating graft tissue necrosis.

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