Primary graft dysfunction (PGD) limits clinical benefit after lung transplantation, a life-prolonging therapy for patients with end-stage disease. PGD is the clinical syndrome resulting from pulmonary ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI), driven by innate immune inflammation. We recently demonstrated a key role for NK cells in the airways of mouse models and human tissue samples of IRI. Here, we used 2 mouse models paired with human lung transplant samples to investigate the mechanisms whereby NK cells migrate to the airways to mediate lung injury. We demonstrate that chemokine receptor ligand transcripts and proteins are increased in mouse and human disease. CCR5 ligand transcripts were correlated with NK cell gene signatures independently of NK cell CCR5 ligand secretion. NK cells expressing CCR5 were increased in the lung and airways during IRI and had increased markers of tissue residency and maturation. Allosteric CCR5 drug blockade reduced the migration of NK cells to the site of injury. CCR5 blockade also blunted quantitative measures of experimental IRI. Additionally, in human lung transplant bronchoalveolar lavage samples, we found that CCR5 ligand was associated with increased patient morbidity and that the CCR5 receptor was increased in expression on human NK cells following PGD. These data support a potential mechanism for NK cell migration during lung injury and identify a plausible preventative treatment for PGD.
Jesse Santos, Ping Wang, Avishai Shemesh, Fengchun Liu, Tasha Tsao, Oscar A. Aguilar, Simon J. Cleary, Jonathan P. Singer, Ying Gao, Steven R. Hays, Jeffrey A. Golden, Lorriana Leard, Mary Ellen Kleinhenz, Nicholas A. Kolaitis, Rupal Shah, Aida Venado, Jasleen Kukreja, S. Sam Weigt, John A. Belperio, Lewis L. Lanier, Mark R. Looney, John R. Greenland, Daniel R. Calabrese