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Transplantation. 1997 Apr 15;63(7):941-7.

Morphometric analysis of neointimal formation in murine cardiac allografts.

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Department of Surgery, The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus 43210, USA.



Transplant vascular sclerosis is expressed in transplanted human and murine hearts as a concentric intimal thickening. The purpose of this study was to characterize the location, distribution, and intensity of transplant vascular sclerosis in murine cardiac allografts using computerized morphometric analysis.


Murine cardiac allograft recipients were treated with the immunosuppressant gallium nitrate to promote graft survival. The grafts were removed at 60 days after transplantation and histologically stained. The coronary arteries were analyzed for intimal thickening using a neointimal index (NI) derived with a computer imaging system.


A cross-section taken from the middle of a cardiac allograft showed four major coronary arteries, each with widely different NI values (65, 0, 92, and 0). The same four vessels in two other grafts also showed highly variable NI values, but different patterns of vessel involvement. Next, NI values were determined along the length of a single vessel from aorta to apex. This revealed variable, fluctuating intimal thickening along the length of the vessel. In general, arteries from the aortic versus apical regions of the grafted hearts expressed similar amounts of intimal thickening (analysis of variance, P=0.4826). Finally, a method was devised to quantitate intimal thickening from a sampling of three tissue cross-sections taken from the middle of each cardiac allograft. This value was statistically indistinguishable from values obtained by analysis of intimal thickening in multiple sections covering the entire heart (P=0.6734, 0.9021, and 0.1474).


Intimal thickening in the coronary arteries of murine cardiac allografts appears to be variable in terms of location, distribution, and intensity. This is true for different regions of the same vessel, different vessels in the same heart region, and the same vessels in different cardiac allografts.

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