Alloimmunity But Not Viral Immunity Promotes Allograft Loss in a Mouse Model of Polyomavirus-Associated Allograft Injury

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Abstract

Background

The interplay between viral infection and alloimmunity is known to influence the fate of transplanted organs. Clarifying how local virus-associated inflammation/injury and antiviral immunity can alter host alloimmune responses in transplantation remains a critical question.

Methods

We used a mouse model of polyomavirus (PyV) infection and kidney transplantation to investigate the roles of direct viral pathology, the antiviral immune response, and alloimmunity in the pathogenesis of PyV-associated allograft injury. We have previously shown that an effective primary T cell response is required in PyV-associated graft injury.

Results

Here we show that the transfer of primed antidonor, but not antiviral, T cells results in PyV-associated allograft injury. In further studies, we use a surrogate minor antigen model (ovalbumin) and show that only antidonor specific T cells and not antiviral specific T cells are sufficient to mediate injury. Lastly, we demonstrate that local but not systemic virus-mediated inflammation and injury within the graft itself are required.

Conclusions

These data suggest that in this mouse model, the predominant mechanism of allograft injury in PyV-associated injury is due to an augmented alloimmune T cell response driven by virus-induced inflammation/injury within the graft. These studies highlight the important interplay between viral infection and alloimmunity in a model system.

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