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Authors Kwun J, Malarkannan S, Burlingham WJ, Knechtle SJ
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Journal J. Immunol. Volume: 187 Issue: 8 Pages: 3997-4006
Publish Date 2011 Oct 15
PubMed ID 21900176
PMC ID 3357205

Grafts can be rejected even when matched for MHC because of differences in the minor histocompatibility Ags (mH-Ags). H4- and H60-derived epitopes are known as immunodominant mH-Ags in H2-compatible BALB.B to C57BL/6 transplantation settings. Although multiple explanations have been provided to explain immunodominance of Ags, the role of vascularization of the graft is yet to be determined. In this study, we used heart (vascularized) and skin (nonvascularized) transplantations to determine the role of primary vascularization of the graft. A higher IFN-γ response toward H60 peptide occurs in heart recipients. In contrast, a higher IFN-γ response was generated against H4 peptide in skin transplant recipients. Peptide-loaded tetramer staining revealed a distinct antigenic hierarchy between heart and skin transplantation: H60-specific CD8 T cells were the most abundant after heart transplantation, whereas H4-specific CD8 T cells were more abundant after skin graft. Neither the tissue-specific distribution of mH-Ags nor the draining lymph node-derived dendritic cells correlated with the observed immunodominance. Interestingly, non-primarily vascularized cardiac allografts mimicked skin grafts in the observed immunodominance, and H60 immunodominance was observed in primarily vascularized skin grafts. However, T cell depletion from the BALB.B donor prior to cardiac allograft induces H4 immunodominance in vascularized cardiac allograft. Collectively, our data suggest that immediate transmigration of donor T cells via primary vascularization is responsible for the immunodominance of H60 mH-Ag in organ and tissue transplantation.

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