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J Immunol. 2004 Jun 15;172(12):7813-20.

The allograft defines the type of rejection (acute versus chronic) in the face of an established effector immune response.

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Section of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, 333 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Transplanted organs fail due to either acute or chronic rejection. The prevailing view is that the nature or magnitude of the recipient's immune response to donor Ags determines the type of rejection. In variance with this view, we show in this study that the status of the graft itself plays a dominant role in defining the type of rejection even in the face of an established alloimmune response. Using adoptive transfer mouse models in which the graft is exposed to a constant number of effector lymphocytes, we found that newly transplanted heart allografts are rejected acutely, while healed-in allografts undergo chronic rejection. Acute rejection of healed-in allografts was largely recapitulated by subjecting the grafts to ischemia-reperfusion injury similar to that present in newly transplanted organs. Ischemia-Reperfusion injury altered the outcome of rejection by enhancing the accumulation of effector T cells within the graft. The accumulation of effector T cells in the graft was dependent on the presence of both ischemia-reperfusion injury (inflammation) and alloantigens. These findings demonstrate that the graft plays a dominant role in shaping the outcome of rejection by controlling the trafficking of effector T cells.

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