ABSTRACT: Using an indirect immunofluorescence method on human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC), we investigated the presence of antiendothelial cell antibodies (AECA) in 136 pre- and posttransplant serum samples sequentially collected from 31 patients during the first year after cardiac transplantation. A healthy control group was also included (n = 87). Colocalization studies demonstrated a positive staining pattern of different cytoskeletal components (cytoskeletal-antiendothelial cell antibodies, CSK-AECA) including antivimentin, antiactin, antitubulin, and anticytokeratin among heart transplanted patients. Frequency of CSK-AECA in the control group and at day 0 in the transplant group was 18.3 and 22.5%, respectively (p = NS). A progressive increase in the frequency of CSK-AECA was observed after cardiac transplantation: 13.3% at day 15; 22.2% at day 30; 53.8% at day 90, and 58% at day 360. Interestingly, rejection episodes within the first year after transplantation occurred in 83.3% of CSK-AECA-positive and in 30.7% of CSK-AECA-negative patients (p = 0.0045). The presence of antibodies was detected prior to the rejection event and was associated with a poor clinical outcome: rejection episodes occurred at a mean of 36.14 +/- 17 days after transplantation in patients with preexisting AECA and 174.25 +/- 51.9 days after de novo antibody appearance in patients with no antibodies at day 0 (p = 0.029). In conclusion, a progressive increase in the frequency of CSK-AECA was observed following cardiac transplantation; the presence of these antibodies is strongly associated and precedes the rejection episodes. Thus, CSK-AECA could be a good marker for acute graft rejection.
Human Immunology 04/2008; 69(3):143-8. · 2.84 Impact Factor