Correlation between cellular rejection of cardiac allografts and quantitative changes among T-cell subsets identified by V beta epitope expression.
BACKGROUND Cellular rejection of an allograft is mediated in part by peripheral blood T cells. We tested the hypothesis that quantitative changes in T-cell subsets can be detected in the peripheral blood and that these changes correlate with rejection.
METHODS AND RESULTS T-cell subset analysis was performed by flow cytometry using monoclonal antibodies recognizing six isotypic epitopes of the T-cell receptor beta-chain variable (V) region. These analyses were done at 7-day (mean) time intervals. Fluctuations within a given subset were determined by dividing the number of positive cells observed by the number of positive cells found on the previous analysis. For healthy volunteers observed over a period of 30 days, 119 of 120 subset ratios (99.2%) fell between 0.5 and 2.0. For patients, 57 of 240 subset ratios (23.8%) fell outside of this range (P < .004, chi 2). The occurrence of the abnormal ratios coincided more closely with cellular rejection (mean +/- SD, 7.7 +/- 6.2 days from a positive biopsy; median, 5 days; range, 0 to 28 days) than did the occurrence of normal subset ratios (mean +/- SD, 14.4 +/- 10.9 days from a positive biopsy; median, 11 days; range, 0 to 44 days; P < .005 by Mann-Whitney U test). Regression analysis confirmed a significant (P < .001, R = .91) temporal association between cellular rejection and abnormal subset fluctuations. No correlation was found between abnormal subset ratios and either vascular rejection or use of high-dose prednisone.
CONCLUSIONS T-cell subset measurement may be a method of noninvasive monitoring of cellular rejection after transplantation and may provide insights into the physiology of graft rejection with the potential for the development of more specific immunosuppressive therapy.
- Copyright © 1994 by American Heart Association