The Role of Postischemic Reperfusion Injury and Other Nonantigen-Dependent Inflammatory Pathways in Transplantation

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The Injury Hypothesis, first published in 1994 and modified several times between 1996 and 2002, holds that the reactive oxygen species-mediated reperfusion injury to allografts initiates and induces the alloimmune response and contributes to alloatherogenesis. Recent experimental and clinical evidence in support of the concept is presented suggesting that (1) reactive oxygen species-mediated allograft injury activates the innate immune system of the donor and recipient; (2) injury-induced putative endogenous ligands of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) of host origin such as heat shock proteins interact with and activate TLR4-bearing dendritic cells that mature and induce the adaptive alloimmune response (acute rejection), and interact with and activate TLR4-bearing vascular cells contributing to the development of alloatherosclerosis (chronic rejection); and (3) TLR4-triggered signaling, involved in the establishment of a reperfusion injury, seems to use myeloid differentiation marker 88-independent, Toll/interleukin-1 receptor domain containing adaptor inducing interferon-β–dependent pathways that are associated with the maturation of dendritic cells and induction of interferon-inducible genes.

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