Allospecific CTL can function as cellular effectors of solid organ graft rejection; however, the specific mechanisms of cell damage remain undetermined. In this study we examined the role of CD8+ T cells in apoptosis and rejection of small intestinal allografts. ACI rat intestinal grafts transplanted into Lewis rat recipients showed apoptosis of epithelial crypt cells on day 3 posttransplant as determined by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick end labeling staining. By day 7 numerous apoptotic crypt cells were detected in allografts, but were rarely observed in FK506-treated allograft recipients, isografts, or native intestine of allograft recipients. To further investigate the mechanism of rejection, recipient rats were depleted of CD8+ cells by treatment with OX-8 mAbs the day before and the day after transplantation of rat small intestinal allografts. Depletion of CD8+ cells from allograft recipients did not alter the tempo or the histologic features of rejection compared with those in the control (IgG-treated) group. Moreover, there was no difference in the number of apoptotic crypt epithelial cells in the grafts of control and CD8-depleted rats. Reverse transcriptase-PCR analyses determined there were similar levels of transcripts for Fas, Fas ligand, perforin, and granzyme B in control and CD8-depleted allograft recipients. By Western blot it was determined that the levels of Fas ligand protein were increased in the CD8-depleted group compared with those in control and FK506-treated allograft recipients. These data suggest that CD8 cells are not required for tissue injury or apoptotic cell death in small intestine allograft rejection.
View details for Web of Science ID 000072970400008
View details for PubMedID 9558067