Background. Interaction of chemokine receptor CXCR3 with its ligand IP-10 mediates effector cell trafficking to sites of allograft rejection in murine models of whole organ allotransplantation. We hypothesized that blocking the CXCR3/IP-10 interaction would impair posttransplantation leukocyte trafficking to and delay rejection of pancreatic islet allografts. Methods. A/J strain murine islets were implanted to the kidney capsule of H-2 disparate, streptozotocin-induced diabetic wild type (WT), CXCR3 deficient (CXCR3 −/−) or IP-10 antibody-treated WT (αIP-10) C57BL/6 recipients. Representative grafts from each group were harvested at day 7. Ribonuclease protection assay was used to determine gene expression for cell markers F4/80 (macrophages), CD8 (type I T cells), CD4 (type II T cells), and CD 19 (natural killer cells), and for chemokines IP-10, MIP-1α, MIP-1β, MCP-1, and RANTES. Immunohistochemistry was used to confirm ribonuclease protection assay infiltrate data. Graft-site chemokine gene expression and cellular infiltrate were correlated with time to functional graft rejection. Results. Untreated WT recipients demonstrated heavy graft-site cell infiltrates and increased graft-site gene expression for cell markers F4/80, CD8, CD4, and CD19, and for chemokines RANTES, IP-10, and MIP-1β at day 7. In comparison with untreated WT; αIP-10-treated WT and CXCR3−/− recipients demonstrated the same degree of chemokine gene expression but less lymphocytic infiltrate. The mean length of allograft survival was 12.7 ± 3.1 days in untreated WT versus 20.2 ± 2.7 days (P <.05) for CXCR3 −/−- and 19.7 ± 2.3 days (P <.05) for α IP-10-treated WT recipients. Conclusions. CXCR3 gene deletion or αIP-10 antibody therapy modulates posttransplantation lymphocytic graft infiltration and statistically prolongs graft survival in murine islet allograft recipients.
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