Targeted deletion of Fgl-2/fibroleukin in the donor modulates immunologic response and acute vascular rejection in cardiac xenografts

Michael Mendicino, MingFeng Liu, Anand Ghanekar, Wei He, Cheryl Koscik, Itay Shalev, Mojib Javadi, Julie Turnbull, Wenhao Chen, Laisum Fung, Seisuke Sakamoto, Phillip Marsden, Thomas K. Waddell, M. James Phillips, Reginald Gorczynski, Gary A. Levy, David Grant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Background-Xenografts ultimately fail as a result of acute vascular rejection (AVR), a process characterized by intravascular thrombosis, fibrin deposition, and endothelial cell activation. Methods and Results-We studied whether targeted deletion of Fgl-2, an inducible endothelial cell procoagulant, (Fgl-2-/-) in the donor prevents AVR in a mouse-to-rat cardiac xenotransplantation model. By 3 days after transplant, Fgl-2+/+ grafts developed typical features of AVR associated with increased levels of donor Fgl-2 mRNA. Grafts from Fgl-2-/- mice had reduced fibrin deposition but developed cellular rejection. Treatment with a short course of cobra venom factor and maintenance cyclosporine resulted in long-term acceptance of both Fgl-2+/+ and Fgl-2-/- grafts. On withdrawal of cyclosporine, Fgl-2+/+ grafts developed features of AVR; in contrast, Fgl-2-/- grafts again developed acute cellular rejection. Rejecting Fgl-2+/+ hearts stained positively for IgG, IgM, C3, and C5b-9, whereas rejecting Fgl-2-/- hearts had minimal Ig and complement deposition despite xenoantibodies in the serum. Furthermore, serum containing xenoantibodies failed to stain Fgl-2-/- long-term treated hearts but did stain wild-type heart tissues. Treatment of Fgl-2-/- xenografts with mycophenolate mofetil and tacrolimus, a clinically relevant immune suppression protocol, led to long-term graft acceptance. Conclusions-Deletion of Fgl-2 ameliorates AVR by downregulation of xenoantigens and may facilitate successful clinical heart xenotransplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)248-256
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 12 2005


  • Apoptosis
  • Endothelium
  • Immunology
  • Thrombosis
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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