Association of amino-terminal propeptide of type III procollagen and acute myocardial rejection in male patients receiving heart transplantation

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BackgroundThe amino-terminal propeptides of type I and III procollagens (PINP and PIIINP) are markers reflecting the status of collagen turnover. We hypothesized that measurement of these serum pro-collagen propeptides could be used to non-invasively assess acute rejection in heart transplant recipients.MethodsIn heart transplant recipients, endomyocardial biopsy specimens taken at 6 and 12 months after surgery were used for study. PINP and PIIINP were measured postoperatively at 3, 6, and 12 months.ResultsA total of 20 male heart transplant patients and seven male control subjects were enrolled. Five patients showed rejection 6 months after transplantation (group 1), while 15 patients showed no rejection (group 2). In group 2 patients, serum PINP and PIIINP levels decreased significantly 6 months after transplantation. In contrast, elevation of serum PINP and PIIINP levels persisted in group 1 patients 6 months after transplantation. At 6 months after transplantation, group 1 patients had significantly higher PIIINP levels than group 2 patients (p=0.025) and controls (p=0.003). After immunosuppressive therapy, all group 1 patients were free of rejection 12 months after transplantation and serial serum PIIINP levels decreased significantly in these patients.ConclusionsSerum PIIINP levels represent a non-invasive method to reflect the occurrence and resolution of acute rejection.

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