The ratio of circulating regulatory cluster of differentiation 4 T cells to endothelial progenitor cells predicts clinically significant acute rejection after heart transplantation. The Journal of heart and lung transplantation : the official publication of the International Society for Heart Transplantation Choi, D. H., Chmura, S. A., Ramachandran, V., Dionis-Petersen, K. Y., Kobayashi, Y., Nishi, T., Luikart, H., Dimbil, S., Kobashigawa, J., Khush, K., Lewis, D. B., Fearon, W. F. 2017

Abstract

The aim of this study was to determine the value of the ratio of the percentage of circulating regulatory cluster of differentiation 4 T cells (%Tregs) to the percentage of endothelial progenitor cells (%EPCs; Treg/EPC ratio) for predicting clinically significant acute rejection.Peripheral blood %Tregs and %EPCs were quantified in 91 cardiac transplant recipients using flow cytometry at a mean of 42 ± 13 days after transplant. The primary end point was clinically significant acute rejection, defined as an event that led to an acute augmentation of immunosuppression in conjunction with an International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation grade = 2R in a right ventricular endomyocardial biopsy specimen or non-cellular rejection (specimen-negative rejection) with hemodynamic compromise (decrease in left ventricular ejection fraction by > 25%).Significant rejection occurred in 27 recipients (29.7%) during a median of 49.4 months (interquartile range, 37.0-62.0 months). The mean %Tregs and %EPCs were not significantly different between those with and without an episode of significant rejection, but the mean Treg/EPC ratio was significantly lower in recipients with significant rejection (44.9 vs 106.7, p = 0.001). Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis showed an area under the curve value for significant rejection for a Treg/EPC ratio of 0.712. The best cutoff value of the Treg/EPC ratio that distinguished between those with or without significant rejection was = 18 by receiver operating characteristic curve analysis. Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed that patients with a Treg/EPC ratio of = 18 had a significantly higher rate of rejection than those with a Treg/EPC ratio > 18 (61.5% vs 16.9%, log-rank p < 0.0001). A low Treg/EPC ratio was an independent predictor of significant rejection.A low Treg/EPC ratio measured soon after heart transplantation is an independent predictor of acute rejection. The Treg/EPC ratio has potential as an early biomarker after heart transplantation for predicting acute rejection.

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