Recipient Mononuclear Cell Recognition and Adhesion to Graft Endothelium after Human Cardiac Transplantation: Lymphocyte Recognition Leads to Monocyte Adhesion

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Transendothelial migration of mononuclear cells is crucial in the development of allograft rejection and transplant coronary disease.Adhesion of circulating cells to endothelium is the initial step in transendothelial migration. Human aortic endothelial cell cultures were established from aortic tissue harvested at the time of organ donation for cardiac transplantation which allowed specific recipient mononuclear cell-graft endothelial interactions to be studied. Confluent untreated endothelial cells were incubated with recipient mononuclear cells for 15 min to assess adhesion. Adhesion of recipient mononuclear cells to endothelium derived from their graft was threefold higher than adhesion to nonspecific endothelium (93 +/-20 vs. 30 +/-11 cells/high power field, P < 0.005). Graft-specific adhesion was inhibited by preincubation of the endothelium with antibodies to class I HLA (34 +/-16 cells/high power field, P < 0.005). Immunofluorescence performed after adhesion showed that 73 +/-6% of both specific and nonspecific adherent cells were monocytes. The use of purified lymphocyte and monocyte preparations showed that graft-specific lymphocytes induce unrelated monocytes to become adherent. These results suggest that lymphocytes are primed in vivo to recognize endothelium derived from their graft which leads to a rapid increase in lymphocyte and monocyte adhesion. Such allo-recognition may involve endothelial class I HLA molecules. (J. Clin. Invest. 1994. 94:2142-2147.) Key words: lymphocyte. monocyte. endothelium. heart transplantation. recognition

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