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Gene transfer of interleukin-18-binding protein attenuates cardiac allograft rejection.
Interleukin (IL) 18 is a potent pro-inflammatory Th1 cytokine that exerts pleiotropic effector functions in both innate and acquired immune responses. Increased IL-18 production during acute rejection has been reported in experimental heart transplantation models and in kidney transplant recipients. IL-18-binding protein (IL-18BP) binds IL-18 with high affinity and neutralizes its biologic activity. We have analyzed the efficacy of an adenoviral vector expressing an IL-18BP-Ig fusion protein in a rat model of heart transplantation. IL-18BP-Ig gene transfer into Fisher (F344) rat donor hearts resulted in prolonged graft survival in Lewis recipients (15.8 +/- 1.4 days vs. 10.3 +/- 2.5 and 10.1 +/- 2.1 days with control virus and buffer solution alone, respectively; P < 0.001). Immunohistochemical analysis revealed decreased intra-graft infiltrates of monocytes/macrophages, CD4(+), CD8alpha(+) and T-cell receptor alphabeta(+) cells after IL-18BP-Ig versus mock gene transfer (P < 0.05). Real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction analysis showed decreased cytokine transcripts for the RANTES chemokine and transforming growth factor-beta after IL-18BP-Ig gene transfer (P < 0.05). IL-18BP-Ig gene transfer attenuates inflammatory cell infiltrates and prolongs cardiac allograft survival in rats. These results suggest a contributory role for IL-18 in acute rejection. Further studies aiming at defining the therapeutic potential of IL-18BP are warranted.
Adenoviridae, Animals, Cytokines, Gene Therapy, Gene Transfer Techniques, Genetic Vectors, Graft Rejection, Graft Survival, Heart Transplantation, Inflammation, Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins, Interleukin-18, Male, Myocardium, Rats, Rats, Inbred F344, Rats, Inbred Lew, Transplants, Up-Regulation
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