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Xenotransplantation. 2003 Mar;10(2):164-77.

The role of chemokines and their receptors in the rejection of pig islet tissue xenografts.

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Division of Molecular Medicine, The John Curtin School of Medical Research, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia.


The mechanism by which inflammatory cells are recruited to pig islet tissue (proislet) xenografts was investigated by examining the intragraft mRNA expression of murine alpha- and beta-chemokines in CBA/H mice from days 3 to 10 post-transplant. Xenograft rejection was associated with early intragraft transcript expression for monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) (3 to 5 days), IP-10 (3 to 4 days) and macrophage inflammatory protein-1alpha (MIP-1alpha) (3 to 5 days) and subsequent expression of eotaxin (days 4 to 10), MIP-1beta (days 4 and 5) and regulated on activation, normal T cell expressed and secreted (RANTES) (days 4 to 6) mRNA. This pattern was consistent with the early recruitment of macrophages (MCP-1, MIP-1alpha), the influx of CD4 T cells (MCP-1, MIP-1alpha, MIP-1beta, IP-10 and RANTES) and the characteristic infiltrate of eosinophils (eotaxin and RANTES) associated with islet xenograft rejection. Inhibition of beta-chemokine signaling in CCR2-/- mice (which lack the major co-receptor for MCP-1) resulted in retarded macrophage and CD4 T cell recruitment, enhanced eosinophil influx and a minor delay in rejection, compared with wildtype mice; there was little effect on leukocyte infiltration in xenografts harvested from CCR5-/- mice (lacking the co-receptor for MIP-1alpha, MIP-1beta and RANTES). The impeded migration of leukocytes into xenografts in CCR2-/- hosts was associated with delayed intragraft expression of MCP-1 and RANTES mRNA; absence of MCP-1/CCR2-mediated signaling led to enhanced intragraft expression of MCP-1, MIP-1alpha and MIP-1beta mRNA. These findings suggest that MCP-1 plays an important role in regulating macrophage and CD4 T cell infiltration to xenograft sites via the CCR2 signaling pathway. Additional treatment of xenografted CCR2-/- transplant recipients with anti-interleukin-(IL)-4 and anti-IL-5 mAbs further delayed xenograft rejection demonstrating the potential for combined antirejection strategies in facilitating pig islet xenotransplantation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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