Acute allograft rejection is mediated by host CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) targeting graft class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules. In experimental rodent models, rejection requires differentiation of naive CD8+ T cells into alloreactive CTL within secondary lymphoid organs, whereas in humans, CTL may alternatively develop within the graft from circulating CD8+ effector memory T cells (TEM) that recognize class I MHC molecules on graft endothelial cells (EC). This latter pathway is poorly understood. Here, we show that host CD4+ TEM, activated by EC class II MHC molecules, provide critical help for this process. First, blocking HLA-DR on EC lining human artery grafts in immunodeficient mice reduces CD8+ CTL development within and acute rejection of the artery by adoptively transferred allogeneic human lymphocytes. Second, siRNA knockdown or CRISPR/Cas9 ablation of class II MHC molecules on EC prevents CD4+ TEM from helping CD8+ TEM to develop into CTL in vitro. Finally, implanted synthetic microvessels, formed from CRISPR/Cas9-modified EC lacking class II MHC molecules, are significantly protected from CD8+ T cell–mediated destruction in vivo. We conclude that human CD8+ TEM–mediated rejection targeting graft EC class I MHC molecules requires help from CD4+ TEM cells activated by recognition of class II MHC molecules.
Parwiz Abrahimi, Lingfeng Qin, William G. Chang, Alfred L.M. Bothwell, George Tellides, W. Mark Saltzman, Jordan S. Pober
No posts were found with this tag.