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Nucl Med Biol. 1994 Apr;21(3):545-55.

Cytokines and organ transplantation. A review.

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Laboratory of Radioimmunology, CHU Sart Tilman, Li├Ęge, Belgium.


Cytokines regulate both aspecific inflammatory responses and specific immune responses. Inflammatory changes occur in the organ transplant as a result of tissue trauma and ischemia/reperfusion in the organ donor and at the time of transplant operation. There is a possibility that cytokines play a role in mediating theses changes. These aspecific inflammatory changes may not only affect graft function but also influence graft immunogenicity (enhanced MHC and adhesion molecule expression) and thus, vulnerability to rejection. Cytokines orchestrate the specific immune response elicited by organ transplantation. Relevance of cytokines to the rejection reaction is multifactorial in nature: 1) promotion of the proliferation an differentiation of specific alloreactive T and B cells clones and differentiation and activation of CTL and NK cells, 2) chemotactic effect and induction of the expression of adhesion molecules, 3) enhancement of MHC class I and II expression, and 4) direct cytotoxic effect on the target grafted cells. Therefore, modulation of cytokine activity either specifically (monoclonal antibody, soluble receptor, etc.) or aspecifically (cyclosporin, FK 506, Rapamycin, steroids, etc.) is essential in controlling graft rejection. Determination of circulating cytokines and cytokines measurement within the biological fluids produced by an organ transplant may help in the diagnosis of rejection episodes and other complications following organ transplantation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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