Despite the recognition that humoral rejection is an important cause of allograft injury, the mechanism of Ab-mediated injury to allograft parenchyma is not well understood. We used a well-characterized murine hepatocellular allograft model to determine the mechanism of Ab-mediated destruction of transplanted liver parenchymal cells. In this model, allogeneic hepatocytes are transplanted into CD8-deficient hosts to focus on CD4-dependent, alloantibody-mediated rejection. Host serum alloantibody levels correlated with in vivo allospecific cytotoxic activity in CD8 knockout hepatocyte rejector mice. Host macrophage depletion, but not CD4+ T cell, NK cell, neutrophil, or complement depletion, inhibited in vivo allocytotoxicity. Recipient macrophage deficiency delayed CD4-dependent hepatocyte rejection and inhibited in vivo allocytotoxicity without influencing alloantibody production. Furthermore, hepatocyte coincubation with alloantibody and macrophages resulted in Ab-dependent hepatocellular cytotoxicity in vitro. These studies are consistent with a paradigm of acute humoral rejection in which CD4+ T cell-dependent alloantibody production results in the targeting of transplanted allogeneic parenchymal cells for macrophage-mediated cytotoxic immune damage. Consequently, strategies to eliminate recipient macrophages during CD4-dependent rejection pathway may prolong allograft survival.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy