Abstract

Current immunosuppression regimens in organ transplantation primarily inhibit T cells. However, T cells are also critical in protective immunity, especially in immune-compromised patients. In this study, we examined the association of T cell dysfunction, as marked by expression of T cell exhaustion molecules, and posttransplant infections in a cohort of liver transplant patients. We focused on Programmed Death 1 (PD-1) and T cell Ig- and mucin-domain molecule 3 (Tim-3), which are potent co-inhibitory receptors, and their persistent expression often leads to T cell dysfunction and compromised protective immunity. We found that patients with the highest expression of PD-1 +Tim-3+ T cells in the memory compartment before transplantation had increased incidence of infections after liver transplantation, especially within the first 90 days. Longitudinal analysis in the first year showed a strong association between variability of PD-1 and Tim-3 expression by T cells and infectious episodes in transplant patients. Furthermore, T cells that expressed PD-1 and Tim-3 had a significantly reduced capacity in producing interferon (IFN)-γ in vitro, and this reduced IFN-γ production could be partially reversed by blocking PD-1 and Tim-3. Interestingly, the percentage of Foxp3+ regulatory T cells in liver transplant patients was stable in the study period. We concluded that the functional status of T cells before and after liver transplantation, as shown by PD-1 and Tim-3 expression, may be valuable in prognosis and management of posttransplant infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Early online dateOct 25 2017
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - Oct 25 2017

Keywords

  • Cell death: exhaustion
  • Costimulation
  • Immunobiology
  • Infectious disease
  • Liver disease: infectious
  • Liver transplantation/hepatology
  • T cell biology
  • Translational research/science

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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