J Heart Lung Transplant. 1997 Feb;16(2):250-5.
Myocardial apoptosis in a heterotopic murine heart transplantation model of chronic rejection and graft vasculopathy.
Department of Surgery, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, USA.
BACKGROUND: Apoptosis has been implicated in myocardial reperfusion injury and in experimental transplantation rejection. One mechanism of apoptosis is through the interaction of the cell-surface Fas receptor on target cells and the Fas ligand that is expressed on cytotoxic T cells. The purpose of this study was to look for evidence of myocardial Fas receptor, Fas ligand, and apoptosis in a murine heterotopic heart transplantation model of chronic rejection/graft vasculopathy. METHODS: Using the nick-end labeling technique, we examined a murine heterotopic heart transplantation model of chronic rejection/graft vasculopathy (strain B10.A to B10.BR) histologically for evidence of DNA fragmentation. MRNA for the Fas receptor, Fas ligand, and beta-actin was detected with reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. RESULTS: Hearts harvested after 30 and 60 days showed an intimal index of the allografts (0.5 +/- 0.1) (mean +/- standard error) that was at least five times more than syngeneic grafts and native (nontransplanted) hearts (p < 0.01). In situ nick end-labeling of partially degraded DNA with terminal deoxynucleotydil transferase showed an increase in apoptotic cells in allografts and syngeneic grafts compared with native hearts. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction detected equal myocardial RNA signal intensity of Fas receptor and beta-actin in allografts, syngeneic grafts, and native hearts. In contrast, allografts showed a strong signal for the Fas ligand mRNA, a signal not seen in syngeneic grafts or native hearts. CONCLUSIONS: Apoptosis is occurring in both allografts and syngeneic grafts in this murine model of chronic rejection/graft vasculopathy, although distinct mechanisms may be involved.