[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It has been postulated that the plasmacytoid/myeloid dendritic cell ratio (pDC/mDC) reflects immune reactivity, and can therefore be used to monitor transplant recipients. We investigated the influence of Ficoll-Paque separation and PBMC cryopreservation on the pDC/mDC ratio and the expression of maturation markers, e.g. chemokine receptors (CKRs) CCR7, CXCR4, and CCR5, in comparison to fresh blood cells. Fractions of pDCs and mDCs, and CKR expression were measured by flow cytometry in fresh blood, in Ficoll-isolated PBMCs and in cryopreserved PBMCs from healthy individuals and kidney transplant recipients. Ficoll-isolation of PBMCs resulted in higher pDC/mDC ratios in both groups compared to fresh blood cells resulting from a relatively large increase in pDCs compared to mDCs. The pDC/mDC ratio increased further after cryopreservation of PBMCs from kidney transplant recipients. Ficoll-isolation and cryopreservation of PBMCs affected the proportion of mDCs and pDCs positive for CKRs, and their expression levels resulting in a more mature phenotype. In conclusion, the pDC/mDC ratio and pDC or mDC maturation status based on CKR expression, is dependent on manipulation of PBMCs. Therefore, fresh blood is preferable for monitoring purposes in transplant patients, as only these cells reflect the in vivo immune-status of patients accurately.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In a prospective study, calcineurin inhibitors (CNI) were withdrawn in patients two years after kidney transplantation. We questioned whether stopping CNI had an effect on the donor-specific reactivity, as CNI might hinder immune responses leading to graft acceptance.
We measured the donor-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) precursor frequency (CTLpf) in 54 patients before and after withdrawal of CNI. In addition, the T-cell reactivity of PBMC to donor and third-party antigens was tested in MLR, and in IFNgamma-Elispot. Reactivity to tetanus toxoid (TET) was studied as well.
Donor-specific CTLpf significantly decreased after CNI withdrawal (P=0.0001). In contrast, no difference was observed in third-party reactive CTLpf, donor and third-party reactive MLR and IFNgamma-Elispot. Proliferative responses and the number of IFNgamma-producing cells to TET also decreased after CNI withdrawal. The decrease in CTLpf correlated with the time between the two blood samples (before and after stopping CNI, P=0.05). This decrease was caused by stopping CNI, because there was no correlation between CTLpf and the duration of the CNI treatment after transplantation. Moreover, the percentage of regulatory T cells in the peripheral blood increased after CNI withdrawal.
We report here that after withdrawal of CNI the donor-specific CTLpf decreases. We hypothesize that CNI suppress regulatory mechanisms that have the potential to down-regulate donor-specific CTL responses and reactivity to TET.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alloreactive T cells may be activated via a direct or an indirect antigen presentation pathway. We questioned whether the frequency of interferon (IFN)-gamma producing cells determined by enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assay is an effective tool to monitor the direct and/or indirect presentation pathway. Secondly, we wondered whether early and late acute rejection (AR) are associated with both pathways. Before (n = 15), during (n = 18) and after (n = 16) a period of AR, peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) samples were tested from 13 heart transplant recipients. The direct presentation pathway was always present. The number of IFN-gamma producing cells reactive to this pathway increased significantly (P = 0.04) during AR and the number decreased (P = 0.005) after AR therapy. In contrast, the indirect allogeneic presentation pathway was present in only eight of 18 AR samples. When the indirect presentation pathway was detectable, it increased significantly during AR. Five of eight of these AR occurred more than 6 months after transplantation. The ELISPOT assay, enumerating alloreactive IFN-gamma producing cells, is a valuable tool to determine the reactivity via both the direct and the indirect presentation pathway. The direct presentation pathway always plays a role in AR, while the indirect pathway contributes especially to late AR.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The effects of immunosuppressive agents on T cell function have been well characterized but virtually nothing is known about the effects of renal transplantation on human dendritic cells (DCs). With the use of flow cytometry, we studied the kinetics of myeloid and plasmacytoid DCs in peripheral blood of 24 kidney allograft recipients before and after transplantation, and in 23 donors before and after kidney donation. All patients were treated with tacrolimus, mycophenolate mofetil and prednisone. Surgery resulted in a strong decline in the number of myeloid and plasmacytoid DCs, both in kidney donors and in their recipients. However, in donors this effect was transient, as the numbers of both DC subsets had normalized completely by the third postoperative month. In contrast, the recovery of myeloid DC counts in kidney transplant recipients was only incomplete at the end of the 3-month follow-up, despite tapering of immunosuppression. The seven patients who required additional immunosuppressive treatment because of acute rejection experienced an even more marked decrease in DC counts in the early postoperative period compared with patients who remained rejection-free. Surgical procedures markedly affect the numbers of circulating myeloid and plasmacytoid DCs. Immunosuppressive drugs have important additional in vivo effects on this cell type and impair the reconstitution of the myeloid DC subset in peripheral blood after renal transplantation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-identical living-related renal transplant recipients, no donor-specific alloreactivity can be detected in regular tests (mixed lymphocyte culture, helper T-lymphocyte precursor frequencies, cytotoxic T-lymphocyte precursor frequencies) to identify patients responding to minor histocompatibility antigens (mHag). We questioned whether a more sensitive method like the Elispot-assay could be more appropriate.
Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from 16 HLA-identical living-related kidney transplant patients 3 months (range, 2 weeks to 5 months) after transplantation were tested for the frequency of interferon (IFN)-gamma producing cells by the Elispot-assay. PBMC from the recipient were stimulated with irradiated donor PBMC and corrected for backward stimulation. Donor-specific IFN-gamma producing cells (pc) in the range of 5 to 115 per million PBMC (median, 30 per million PBMC) were found. To evaluate the frequency of spot forming cells in time, PBMC from six patients who received an HLA-identical renal transplant were stimulated with irradiated donor PBMC before, approximately 3 months after, and 12 months after transplantation. Four patients who received an HLA-mismatched living-related kidney served as positive control. In the HLA-identical group, frequencies in the range of 0 to 10 IFN-gamma pc per million PBMC were found before transplantation, 0 to 30 per million PBMC 3 months after transplantation, and 0 to 45 per million PBMC 12 months after transplantation. In the HLA-mismatched group, significantly higher numbers were found: 10 to 480 IFN-gamma pc per million PBMC before, 20 to 360 per million PBMC at 3 months, and 30 to 590 per million PBMC 12 months after transplantation.
Under immunosuppressive therapy, IFN-gamma pc specific for donor mHag can be found after HLA-identical living-related renal transplantation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cryopreserved human heart valves are used for valve replacement in patients with congenital or acquired heart disease. Although no blood group or human leukocyte antigens (HLA) matching is performed and no immunosuppression is administered, the clinical results are relatively good. After valve replacement, the majority of the patients develop HLA antibodies, whereas a smaller group of patients shows valve-related events at the long term after right ventricular outflow tract reconstruction. Therefore, we hypothesized that not the mere presence, but rather the titers of antidonor HLA antibodies may be related to valve allograft failure. The presence and specificity of HLA class I antibodies were determined by complement-dependent microlymphocytotoxicity (CDC) test in longitudinally taken peripheral blood samples of 35 valve allograft recipients. In eight patients with an antibody response specific against donor-HLA class I, the titers were measured by this CDC method after stepwise dilution of the plasma. Panel reactive antibodies of more than 10% were found in 31 of 35 (89%) valve allograft recipients. From these 31 patients, 24 (77%) developed donor-specific HLA class I antibodies. All eight selected patients had detectable donor-specific antibody titers, ranging from 1:2 to 1:8,000. Two donor valve recipients before retransplantation had (donor-specific) HLA antibodies and showed high titers of 1:256 and 1:8,000 shortly after the second allograft valve replacement, which was associated with an early graft failure in the latter patient. We conclude that transplantation of cryopreserved human heart valve allografts leads to a broad and strong humoral response, which is probably the result of a lack of immunosuppressive therapy after valve transplantation. Patients receiving a second or following valve allograft appeared to be sensitized and developed early and high allo-antibody titers after second valve allograft implantation. Valve failure was diagnosed in a patient with extremely high titers. These findings suggest that preoperative cross-matching may identify patients with high donor-specific HLA antibody titers and may reduce the risk for early recurrent graft failure.
Human Immunology 12/2002; 63(11):1019-25. · 2.30 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Stable cadaveric renal transplant patients were routinely converted from cyclosporin A (CsA) to either azathioprine (AZA) or mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) 1 year after transplantation to reduce the side effects of long-term immunosuppressive therapy. Thereafter, the AZA and MMF dose was gradually tapered to 50% at 2 years after transplantation. We questioned whether a reduction of immunosuppressive treatment results in a rise of donor-specific T-cell reactivity. Before transplantation (no immunosuppression), 1 year (high dose immunosuppression) and 2 years (low dose immunosuppression) after transplantation, the T-cell reactivity of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) against donor and third-party spleen cells was tested in mixed lymphocyte cultures (MLC) and against tetanus toxoid (TET) to test the general immune response. We also measured the frequency of donor and third-party reactive helper (HTLpf) and cytotoxic (CTLpf) T-lymphocyte precursors in a limiting dilution assay. Donor-specific responses, calculated by relative responses (RR = donor/third-party reactivity), were determined. Comparing responses after transplantation during high dose immunosuppression with responses before transplantation (no immmunosuppression), the donor-specific MLC-RR (P = 0.04), HTLp-RR (P = 0.04) and CTLp-RR (P = 0.09) decreased, while the TET-reactivity did not change. Comparing the responses during low dose with high dose immunosuppression, no donor- specific differences were found in the MLC-RR, HTLp-RR and CTLp-RR, although TET-reactivity increased considerably (P = 0.0005). We observed a reduction in donor-specific T-cell reactivity in stable patients after renal transplantation during in vivo high dose immunosuppression. Tapering of the immunosuppressive load had no rebound effect on the donor-specific reactivity, while it allowed recovery of the response to nominal antigens.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A reliable immunological assay for quantification of donor-specific alloreactivity to identify patients at risk for future allograft rejection would be a helpful tool in organ transplantation. Therefore, we questioned whether the T cell reactivity in patients measured before transplantation was predictive for the occurrence of acute rejection during the first year after kidney transplantation.
The pretransplant T cell reactivity of peripheral blood mononuclear cells to donor and third-party antigens was tested in mixed lymphocyte cultures, and to tetanus toxoid. In addition, we measured the frequency of donor and third-party reactive helper T lymphocyte precursor and cytotoxic T lymphocyte precursors using limiting dilution analysis.
Patients who experienced acute rejection had significantly higher donor-specific mixed lymphocyte cultures responses (n=38; median stimulation index): 113 vs. 15, P=0.005) and helper T lymphocyte precursor frequency (n=37; median 194/106 vs. 62/106, P=0.009) measured before transplantation compared to patients without acute rejection. All patients with a low mixed lymphocyte culture response (stimulation index</=20; 13/13 vs. 12/25, P=0.001) and an undetectable helper T lymphocyte precursor frequency (<10/106 peripheral blood mononuclear cells; 7/7 vs. 17/30, P=0.04) before transplantation did not experience acute rejection. The donor-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte precursor frequency (n=34; median 53/106 vs. 28/106, P=0.58) and tetanus toxoid-reactivity (n=38; median stimulation index: 53 vs.16, P=0.56) measured before transplantation did not correlate with acute rejection. No correlation between third-party reactivity and acute rejection was observed.
From these results we conclude that despite the current HLA matching criteria, undetectable helper T lymphocyte precursor frequency and low mixed lymphocyte culture responses against donor antigens measured before transplantation are predictive for a rejection-free first posttransplant year. These in vitro assays can be used to identify patients who require less immunosuppression after transplantation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Implantation of cryopreserved human donor heart valves for either congenital or acquired cardiac disease has been performed since the last three decades. Although the clinical outcome is good, long-term valve degeneration resulting in dysfunction has been observed. A specific immunological response of the recipient against the allograft has been proposed as one of the factors involved in this process. Helper T lymphocytes play an important intermediate role in cellular and humoral immune response. Increasing numbers of circulating donor-specific helper T lymphocytes precursors (HTLp) correlate with graft rejection after organ transplantation. To investigate whether cryopreserved human donor heart valves are able to induce a donor-specific T helper response, we monitored the HTLp frequencies (HTLpf) in peripheral blood samples of 13 patients after valve allograft transplantation by use of a limiting dilution assay followed by an interleukin-2 bioassay. Prior to transplantation, HTLpf specific for donor and third-party antigens showed individual baseline levels. After allografting, the antidonor frequencies significantly increased in 11 of the 13 patients (P = 0.02). This was not found for stimulation with third-party spleen cells (P = 0.68), which indicates a donor-specific response. Maximal donor-specific HTLpf were already found at 1--2 months after operation. Valve allograft transplantation induces an increase in the numbers of donor-specific HTLp in peripheral blood of the patients. Analogous to organ transplantation, these HTLp may play a crucial role in events that lead to valve damage. Therefore, monitoring of HTLp in peripheral blood samples might be informative for donor valve degeneration (rejection) and subsequently valve allograft failure.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Administration of pravastatin soon after transplantation successfully lowers cholesterol levels, whereas a reduced number of acute rejection episodes is accompanied by a decrease in natural killer (NK) cell activity. As a consistent low NK cell activity caused by pravastatin might impair tumor surveillance leading to cancer, we studied the effect of pravastatin on NK cell activity in stable renal transplant patients.
From 14 cyclosporine (CsA)-treated and 11 azathioprine (AZA)-treated patients with hypercholesterolemia, more than 1 year after kidney transplantation, we determined NK cell number and cytotoxic activity before, and at 6 and 12 weeks after, initiating pravastatin treatment. Additionally, cholesterol levels and liver and kidney function parameters were assessed.
During pravastatin treatment, total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol levels decreased significantly in both patient groups. In the CsA group, the number and cytotoxic activity of the NK cells at 12 weeks after institution of pravastatin was in the same range as before pravastatin. Additionally, in the AZA group, pravastatin did not influence the number of NK cells. However, in the AZA group, both the number of NK cells and their cytotoxic activity were significantly (<0.002) lower compared to the values in the CsA group.
In contrast to previous reports on decreased NK cell cytotoxicity caused by pravastatin treatment early after transplantation, we cannot confirm these results in stable kidney recipients. In our hands, NK cell cytotoxicity during pravastatin treatment was within the same range as in the absence of pravastatin. Thus, in view of the potential role of NK cells in tumor surveillance, these data are reassuring.