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Authors Morelli AE, Bracamonte-Baran W, Burlingham WJ
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Journal Curr Opin Organ Transplant Volume: 22 Issue: 1 Pages: 46-54
Publish Date 2017 Feb
PubMed ID 27898464
PMC ID 5407007

The passenger leukocyte hypothesis predicts that after transplantation, donor antigen-presenting cells (APCs) from the graft present donor MHC molecules to directly alloreactive T cells in lymphoid organs. However, in certain transplantation models, recent evidence contradicts this long-standing concept. New findings demonstrate that host, instead of donor, APCs play a prominent role in allosensitization against donor MHC molecules via the semidirect pathway. A similar mechanism operates in development of T-cell split tolerance to noninherited maternal antigens.Following fully mismatch skin or heart transplantation in mice, no or extremely few donor migrating APCs (i.e. conventional dendritic cells) are detected in the draining lymphoid organs. Instead, recipient dendritic cells that have captured donor extracellular vesicles (i.e. exosomes) carrying donor MHC molecules and APC costimulatory signals present donor MHC molecules to directly alloreactive T cells. This semidirect pathway can also give rise to a form of ‘split’ tolerance during chronic alloantigen exposure, as indirectly alloreactive T helper cells and directly alloreactive T-cell effectors are differentially impacted by host dendritic cells ‘cross-dressed’ with extracellular vesicles/exosomes derived from maternal microchimerism.Acquisition by recipient APCs of donor exosomes (and likely other extracellular vesicles) released by passenger leukocytes or the graft explains the potent T-cell allosensitization against donor MHC molecules, in the absence or presence of few passenger leukocytes in lymphoid organs. It also provides the basic mechanism and in-vivo relevance of the elusive semidirect pathway. Its degree of coordination with the allopeptide – specific, indirect pathway of T-cell help may determine whether semidirect allopresentation results in a sustained, effective, acute rejection response, or rather, in abortive acute rejection and ‘split’ tolerance.

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