Background. Factors directing T-cell infiltration into allografts during acute rejection remain poorly defined. Chemokines have been shown to mediate leukocyte recruitment into allografts in animal models of rejection. The goal of this study was to test the presence and levels of chemokine and receptor gene expression in serial endomyocardial biopsy specimens from heart transplant patients and to correlate the levels observed with histopathologic rejection grade. Methods. Three hundred sixteen serial endomyocardial biopsy specimens from 30 heart transplant patients were obtained during the clinically scheduled surveillance heart biopsy program. The follow-up period was 1 year. The expression of interferon (IFN)-γ inducible protein (IP)-10, monokine induced by IFN-γ (Mig), interferon-inducible T-cell alpha chemoattractant (I-TAC), regulated on activation normal T-cell expressed and secreted (RANTES), monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP)-1, interleukin (IL)-8, and the receptors CXCR3 and CCR5 were tested using quantitative, real-time polymerase chain reaction. Biopsy samples were examined histologically to assign rejection grade. Results. Expression of IP-10, Mig, I-TAC, RANTES, CXCR3, and CCR5, but not MCP-1 and IL-8, increased significantly in both grade 2 and grade 3 rejection (P≤0.0096). These increases returned to normal after treatment with pulse steroid therapy to treat the rejection episode. Conclusion. The expression of IP-10, Mig, I-TAC, RANTES, CXCR3, and CCR5 in cardiac allografts significantly correlates with the presence and grade of acute rejection.
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