Indexed on: 27 Jan '06Published on: 27 Jan '06Published in: Transplantation
Xenotransplantation may provide a solution to the increasing shortage of donor organs. Acute vascular rejection and cell-mediated rejection remain the primary barriers to successful xenotransplantation. In animal models where acute vascular rejection can be attenuated, xenografts succumb to cell-mediated rejection. The mechanisms of acute vascular rejection and cell-mediated rejection are poorly understood.Using a heterotopic rat-to-mouse cardiac transplantation model, we demonstrate that IL-12p40 attenuates both allogeneic and xenogeneic acute vascular rejection pathology by suppressing B-cell activation and anti-rat isotype switching. To study the mechanism of xenogeneic cell-mediated rejection, we use B-cell deficient mice that only develop cell-mediated rejection pathology. To elucidate the role of IL-12 in cell-mediated rejection, we generated B cell/ IL-12p40 double knockout mice.We demonstrate that xenogeneic cell-mediated rejection is mediated by CD4+ T cells, and is accompanied by elevated FasL and granzyme mRNA expression. Strikingly, by generating B cell/IL-12p40 double knockout mice, we demonstrate that xenogeneic cell-mediated rejection is IL-12p40 dependent. In contrast, we demonstrate that allogeneic cellular rejection is IL-12p40 independent.We conclude that IL-12 plays a dual role in xenotransplantation by driving xenogeneic CD4+ T cell responses but suppressing both allogeneic and xenogeneic B cell responses. Therefore, the mechanism of allogeneic and xenogeneic transplantation rejection is differentially regulated by IL-12.