Endomyocardial infiltration by B and NK cells foreshadows the recurrence of cardiac allograft rejection

The Journal of Pathology
C SorrentinoE Di Carlo

Abstract

Heart allograft outcome is unpredictable and acute rejection episodes still occur despite the improvement of immunosuppressive regimens. We therefore investigated whether the immunopathological profile of endomyocardial biopsies might underlie the variations in the clinical course of a graft. Biopsies from transplanted patients were analysed by histology, immunohistochemistry (associated with digital image analysis), confocal and electron microscopy to determine the type and the functional state of leukocytes infiltrating the myocardium, together with their ultrastructural features and those of the graft itself. In comparison with biopsies with grade 0R or grade 1R rejection, those from patients with grade 2R rejection displayed significant infiltration of macrophages, T lymphocytes, and CD83+ and DC-SIGN+ dendritic cells. Fifty-seven per cent were invaded by CD20+B lymphocytes, most of which expressed CD69 activation marker and cooperated in interleukin-12 production, and by CD69+CD94+NK cells expressing interferon-gamma. Ultrastructural signs of myocyte degeneration and microvessel rupture by NK cells were frequent. These patients developed recurrent episodes of acute allograft rejection. Endomyocardial B and NK infiltrates a...Continue Reading

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