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Transpl Int. 2017 Jan;30(1):96-107. doi: 10.1111/tri.12876. Epub 2016 Nov 23.

Activin inhibition limits early innate immune response in rat kidney allografts-a pilot study.

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Kidney Transplant Research Group, Transplantation Laboratory, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.
Transplantation and Liver Surgery Unit, Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.
Department of Bacteriology and Immunology and Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
ANSH Labs Inc, Webster, TX, USA.
Inserm U1043, CHU Purpan, Toulouse, France.
Department of Pathology, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.


Activins are members of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) superfamily of cytokines. They play critical roles in the onset of acute and chronic inflammatory responses. The aim of this study was to investigate how activin inhibition affects acute kidney injury and inflammation after transplantation. The study was carried out in kidney transplantation and renal ischemia-reperfusion models in the rat. Soluble activin type 2 receptor (sActRIIB-Fc) was used to inhibit activin signaling. Transplantation groups were as follows: (i) cyclosporine A (CsA) (ii) CsA + sActRIIB-Fc, (iii) CsA+ inactive protein control Fc-G1. IRI groups were as follows: (i) no treatment, (ii) sActRIIB-Fc. Serum activin B concentration was significantly elevated after transplantation and IRI, whereas activin A was produced locally in renal allografts. Activin inhibition efficiently limited neutrophil, macrophage, and dendritic cell infiltration to the allografts measured 72 h after transplantation. In addition, sActRIIB-Fc treatment modulated serum cytokine response after transplantation and reduced the early accumulation of fibroblasts in the graft interstitium. In conclusion activin inhibition reduces the innate immune response early after renal transplantation in the rat. It also limits the accumulation of fibroblasts in the graft suggesting that activins may be involved in the fibrogenic signaling already early after kidney transplantation.


activin; innate immunity; ischemia-reperfusion injury; kidney transplantation; transforming growth factor-beta

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