Interspecies differences create important shortcomings in existing animal models used to describe in vivo events responsible for allograft rejection. Alloimmune destruction of human dermal microvessels, histologically consistent with rejection, has been demonstrated in human skin-grafted severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice receiving allogeneic human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). We have now documented human alloimmune injury in a vascularized, SCID-human arterial transplantation model.Methods.
Fresh human artery was used to replace the CB.17 SCID/beige mouse infrarenal aorta. Seven days later, 3×108 human PBMC were administered intraperitoneally, and lymphocyte engraftment was considered successful when circulating human CD3+ cells were later identified in peripheral blood.Results.
Forty-six of 49 (94%) mice undergoing transplantation survived, including 14 controls with arterial grafts receiving no PBMC. Twenty-eight of 32 mice demonstrated circulating human CD3+ cells, 14 days after PBMC administration. Animals were killed at 14, 21, or 28 days after receiving allogeneic PBMC, and arteries were recovered for histology and immunohistology. All 14 control mice had patent transplanted grafts with normal vascular histology and no lymphoid infiltration. Damage to transplanted arteries among lymphocyte-engrafted mice was apparent by 14 and 21 days in some animals, whereas 16 of 22 exhibited moderate to severe intimal, medial, and/or adventitial lymphocytic infiltration with intimal expansion by day 28. The infiltrate consisted of HLA-A, -B, -C+, and -DR+, human CD3+ cells, approximately equally distributed as CD4+ and CD8+ subsets. Some infiltrating lymphocytes were cytolytic cells as demonstrated by perforin staining. The endothelium of transplanted human arteries exhibited endothelialitis, and the endothelial cells stained intensely with anti-HLA-A, -B, -C and anti-HLA-DR antibodies. The expanded intima was predominantly smooth muscle cells, staining positively for smooth muscle α-actin, HLA-A, -B, -C and HLA-DR. Medial necrosis was not observed.Conclusion.
The results provide evidence of alloimmune-mediated vascular rejection in this human arterial transplantation model.