Systemic rather than local heme oxygenase-1 overexpression improves cardiac allograft outcomes in a new transgenic mouse.
Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), a rate-limiting enzyme in heme catabolism, exhibits potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. We developed HO-1 transgenic (Tg) mice using a rat HO-1 genomic transgene under the control of the endogenous promoter. Transgene expression was demonstrated by RT-PCR in all studied tissues, and a modest HO-1 overexpression was documented by Western, ELISA, and enzyme activity assays. To assess the effect of local vs systemic HO-1 in the acute rejection response, we used Tg mice as organ donors or recipients of MHC-incompatible heart grafts. In the local HO-1 overexpression model, Tg allografts survived 10.5 +/- 0.7 days (n = 10), compared with 6.5 +/- 0.4 days (n = 6) for wild-type donor controls (p = 0.0001). In the systemic HO-1 overexpression model, Tg recipients maintained allografts for 26.8 +/- 3.4 days (n = 10), compared with 6.3 +/- 0.1 days (n = 12) in wild-type controls (p = 0.00009). Inhibition of HO activity by treatment with tin protoporphyrin blunted survival advantage in Tg mice and resulted in acute graft rejection (n = 3). Increased carboxyhemoglobin levels were consistently noted in Tg mice. Comparisons of grafts at day 4 indicated that HO-1 overexpression was inversely associated with vasculitis/inflammatory cell infiltrate in both models. Hearts transplanted into Tg recipients showed decreased CD4(+) lymphocyte infiltration and diminished immune activation, as judged by CD25 expression. Thus, although local and systemic HO-1 overexpression improved allograft outcomes, systemic HO-1 led to a more robust protection and resulted in a significant blunting of host immune activation. This Tg mouse provides a valuable tool to study mechanisms by which HO-1 exerts beneficial effects in organ transplantation.
Araujo, JA; Meng, L; Tward, AD; Hancock, WW; Zhai, Y; Lee, A; Ishikawa, K; Iyer, S; Buelow, R; Busuttil, RW; Shih, DM; Lusis, AJ; Kupiec-Weglinski, JW
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