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Am J Transplant. 2007 May;7(5):1080-90. Epub 2007 Mar 12.

Beta 3 integrins regulate lymphocyte migration and cytokine responses in heart transplant rejection.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Center for Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.


Integrin alpha v beta 3 is important for cell survival, signaling and migration, particularly during angiogenesis and tumorigenesis, where it has been proposed as a therapeutic target. alpha v beta 3 is up-regulated following transplantation and beta 3 polymorphisms are associated with increased acute kidney rejection, suggesting that alpha v beta 3 may also play a role in transplant rejection. Here, using a model of allogeneic heart transplantation, we show that allograft survival is prolonged in beta 3 integrin-deficient (beta 3(-/-)) mice. This is associated with Th2-type immune responses and reduced T-cell infiltration into grafts and T cells from beta 3(-/-) mice show impaired adhesion and migration, consistent with a role for alpha v beta 3 in transmigration. These studies provide evidence that targeting beta 3 integrins impairs recruitment of effector cells and alters cytokine production, so prolonging graft survival. We also show that low doses of blocking antibodies against leukocyte function associated antigen-1 (LFA-1)/alpha L beta 2 and very late antigen-4 (VLA-4)/alpha 4 beta 1, when combined with deletion of beta 3, lead to long-term survival of allografts with no evidence of chronic rejection. Hence we provide strong mechanistic evidence supporting previous genetic studies, demonstrate the involvement of beta 3 integrins in both acute and chronic rejection and identify beta 3 as a new target for immunosuppressive therapy.

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