Rapid and severe rejection remains as a major obstacle to successful clinical intestinal transplantation (IT)The aggressive nature of rejection in IT has been attributed to the increased massive immune stimulus provided by large numbers of resident lymphocytes, antigen presentation capacity of enterocytes, and graft damage mediated by luminal microflora. Early small bowel expression of proinflammatory cytokines, MHC class II, and adhesion molecules may also promote IT rejection, but the lack of a mouse model has hampered extensive studies of gene expression in IT. Using a recently developed surgical model, we examined the temporal pattern of gene expression in CB6F1 (H-2b/d) vascularized, heterotopic intestinal allografts transplanted into BALB/c (H-2d) mice. Although histological evidence of rejection was not present until day 7 in allografts. Northern blot analysis demonstrated increases in TNFα gene transcripts as early as day 3, followed by the expression of IL-1β, intercellular adhesion molecule-1, and MHC class II by day 5. Using reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, IFN-γ was detected in allografts by day 3 and persisted to day 10. In contrast, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, and IL-6 mRNA transcripts peaked by day 5 and then decreased, suggesting that both Thl and Th2 subsets are involved in the rejection of unmodified small bowel allografts. The early and progressive expression of TNFα and IL-1β as well as IFN-γ, intercellular adhesion molecule-1, and MHC class II in IT rejection may contribute to the difficulty in controlling IT rejection with present immunosuppression.
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