To determine the immune processes involved in chronic liver allograft rejection (CR) we examined in situ cytokine production in tissue from 15 patients with both clinical and histopathological diagnoses of CR. Total RNA was isolated from liver samples, reverse-transcribed and analyzed by RT-PCR for the production of proinflammatory cytokines and immunoregulatory mediators. Transcripts for the Th1-like cytokines IL-2 and IFN-gamma were detected in 53.3% and 46.7% of CR grafts, while they were detected in only 16% and 0% of stable grafts, respectively. The cytotoxic T cell mediator granzyme B was expressed in the majority of liver grafts undergoing CR, but was expressed only in a minority of stable grafts (80% vs. 16%, P < 0.05). The T cell product IL-5 was also significantly upregulated in CR as compared with stable livers (80% vs. 16%, P < 0.01). Other Th2 cytokines--IL-4 and IL-10--and macrophage products--IL-1 beta, IL-6, IL-8, TGF-beta, and TNF-alpha--were not substantially upregulated in CR grafts as compared with stable grafts. PDGF-beta transcripts were detected in the majority of the CR grafts, but were not detected in stable liver grafts (73% vs. 0, P < 0.05). By immunohistochemical staining, we observed that CD3+CD4+, and CD3+CD4- T cells were detected in CR grafts along with CD20+ B cells and CD68+ macrophages. There was, however, a predominant infiltration of CD3+CD4+ lymphocytes. Taken together, these data suggest that infiltrating cells produce proinflammatory and immunoregulatory cytokines that have a role in mediating graft damage in CR.
View details for Web of Science ID A1995TN23000027
View details for PubMedID 8545886