Altered intragraft immune responses and improved renal function in MHC class II-deficient mouse kidney allografts.
BACKGROUND: During renal allograft rejection, expression of MHC class II antigens is up-regulated on the parenchymal cells of the kidney. This up-regulation of MHC class II proteins may stimulate the intragraft alloimmune response by promoting their recognition by recipient CD4+ T cells. In previous studies, absence of donor MHC class II antigens did not affect skin graft survival, but resulted in prolonged survival of cardiac allografts. METHODS: To further explore the role of MHC class II antigens in kidney graft rejection, we performed vascularized kidney transplants using donor kidneys from A(beta)b-deficient mice that lack MHC class II expression. RESULTS: At 4 weeks after transplant, GFR was substantially depressed in control allografts (2.18+/-0.46 ml/min/kg) compared to nonrejecting isografts (7.98+/-1.62 ml/min/kg; P<0.01), but significantly higher in class II- allografts (4.38+/-0.60 ml/min/kg; P<0.05). Despite the improvement in renal function, class II- allograft demonstrated histologic features of acute rejection, not unlike control allografts. However, morphometric analysis at 1 week after transplantation demonstrated significantly fewer CD4+ T cells infiltrating class II- allografts (12.8+/-1.2 cells/mm2) compared to controls (25.5+/-2.6 cells/mm2; P=0.0007). Finally, the intragraft profile of cytokines was altered in class II- allografts, with significantly reduced expression of Th2 cytokine mRNA compared to controls. CONCLUSIONS: These results support a role of MHC class II antigens in the kidney regulating immune cells within the graft. Further, effector pathways triggered by class II antigens promote renal injury during rejection.
Mannon, RB; Doyle, C; Griffiths, R; Bustos, M; Platt, JL; Coffman, TM
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