Adaptive features of innate immune cells and their relevance to graft rejection

Guangchuan Wang, Gangcheng Kong, Xian C. Li

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose of reviewAllograft rejection involves both innate and adaptive immune cells, and the adaptive immune cells have dominated transplant studies for decades. Recent studies have identified surprising new features for the innate immune cells, including memory recall responses, which may have significant implications in further improvement of transplant outcomes.Recent findingsTransplant survival is excellent in the short-term, but the long-term graft outcomes are not so, and most grafts are continuously lost to chronic rejection in the clinic. In both animal models and clinical settings, graft loss to chronic rejection is often dominated by innate immune cells, especially macrophages and natural killer (NK) cells in the grafts. Recent studies suggest that innate immune cells can acquire features of adaptive cells in that they either directly sense allogeneic nonself or become 'trained' in the allogeneic milieu, where they show features of memory recall responses. In certain models, targeting the adaptive features of such innate immune cells can promote long-term allograft survival. These findings may open new therapeutic opportunities in promoting transplant survival in the clinic.SummaryThe discovery of donor specificity and memory recall responses of certain innate immune cells, which are prominently featured in chronic allograft rejection, may open novel therapeutic opportunities in transplantation, as well as in treatment of cancers and autoimmune diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)664-669
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent opinion in organ transplantation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • innate immune cells
  • macrophages
  • memory
  • natural killer cells
  • transplant rejection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation


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