Allograft inflammatory factor-1 links T-cell activation, interferon response, and macrophage activation in chronic Kawasaki disease arteritis

Anne H. Rowley*, Susan C. Baker, Kwang Youn A. Kim, Stanford T. Shulman, Amy Yang, David Arrollo, Matthew DeBerge, Shuling Han, Nicholas E.S. Sibinga, Adam J. Pink, Edward B. Thorp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background. Kawasaki disease (KD) is widely viewed as an acute arteritis. However, our pathologic studies show that chronic coronary arteritis can persist long after disease onset and is closely linked with arterial stenosis. Transcriptome profiling of acute KD arteritis tissues revealed upregulation of T lymphocyte, type I interferon, and allograft inflammatory factor-1 (AIF1) genes. We determined whether these immune responses persist in chronic KD arteritis, and we investigated the role of AIF1 in these responses. Methods. Gene expression in chronic KD and childhood control arteries was determined by real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, and arterial protein expression was determined by immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence. Allograft inflammatory factor-1 small-interfering ribonucleic acid macrophage treatment was performed to investigate the role of AIF1 in macrophage and T lymphocyte activation. Results. Allograft inflammatory factor-1 protein was highly expressed in stenotic KD arteries and colocalized with the macrophage marker CD68. T lymphocyte and interferon pathway genes were significantly upregulated in chronic KD coronary artery tissues. Alpha interferon-induced macrophage expression of CD80 and major histocompatibility complex class II was dependent on AIF1, and macrophage expression of AIF1 was required for antigen-specific T lymphocyte activation. Conclusions. Allograft inflammatory factor-1, originally identified in posttransplant arterial stenosis, is markedly upregulated in KD stenotic arterial tissues. T lymphocyte and type I interferon responses persist in chronic KD arteritis. Allograft inflammatory factor-1 may play multiple roles linking type I interferon response, macrophage activation, and antigen-specific T lymphocyte activation. These results suggest the likely importance of lymphocyte-myeloid cell cross-talk in the pathogenesis of KD arteritis and can inform selection of new immunotherapies for clinical trials in high-risk KD children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e94-e102
JournalJournal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


  • Allograft inflammatory factor-1
  • Arteritis
  • Kawasaki disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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