Inducible nitric oxide synthase promotes cytokine expression in cardiac allografts but is not required for efficient rejection.
BACKGROUND: Inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) is enhanced during acute rejection. Pharmacologic inhibition of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity has had variable effects on graft survival in a number of animal models. To further characterize the requirement and effects of iNOS during acute allograft rejection, we examined rejection responses of mice completely deficient of iNOS. METHODS: Heterotopic cardiac allografts were performed using wild-type and iNOS deficient mice (iNOS[-/-]) as recipients. Graft survival was determined by abdominal palpation. At days 3 and 7 following transplantation, grafts were harvested and analyzed histologically. Cytokine messenger RNA (mRNA) expression was measured by ribonuclease protection assay. RESULTS: Mean survival time of cardiac allografts did not differ between wild-type (18 +/- 3 days) and iNOS(-/-) recipients (16 +/- 2 days). At 3 days, findings of moderate acute rejection were seen in both recipients groups, although modestly reduced in iNOS(-/ -) mice. By 7 days, allografts in both groups demonstrated severe rejection. Within grafts at day 3, there was a 3-fold reduction in IL-1beta expression and a 4-fold reduction in IL-1RA in iNOS(-/-) recipients (p = 0.03 andp = 0.04, respectively) compared to wild-type recipients. Expression of other proinflammatory cytokines was detected in the grafts from both recipients, but was not significantly different. Finally, rejection responses to iNOS(-/-) cardiac allografts were nearly identical to wild-type allografts. CONCLUSIONS: Rejection of cardiac allografts by iNOS(-/-) mice occurs in a similar fashion to wild-type recipients, with extensive inflammation and proinflammatory cytokine production. While iNOS may play a role in cytokine induction by macrophages, these studies suggest that iNOS is not required for efficient cardiac graft rejection.
Mannon, RB; Roberts, K; Ruiz, P; Laubach, V; Coffman, TM
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