Monday, September 24, 2012

Enrichment of Regulatory T Cells in Acutely Rejected Human Liver Allografts

Acute cellular rejection (ACR) occurs frequently after liver transplantation and can usually be controlled. Triggering of allospecific immune responses and lack of immunoregulation are currently suggested as a cause of ACR, but there are no investigations of intrahepatic immune responses during ACR. Therefore we prospectively analyzed the intrahepatic T cell infiltration pattern in correlation to the severity of ACR in a cohort of patients with graft hepatitis (n = 151). While CD4+ cells dominated the portal infiltrates in mild–moderate ACR, CD8+ cells prevailed in severe ACR. Furthermore portal CD8+ and not CD4+ infiltration correlated with serum transaminases and with the likelihood of subsequent ACRs. Surprisingly, the rise of portal effector T cells density during ACR was surpassed by the increase in portal infiltration of regulatory T cells by a factor of two. Thus ACRs rather showed an increase and not a lack of regulation, as was suggested by analysis of peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Despite the pattern of enhanced immunoregulation, patients with severe ACR had a higher risk for subsequent rejections and showed a trend to a reduced survival. Thus, patients with severe rejections might need a modification of their immunosuppression to improve prognosis (read more).
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