Allo-Ag presentation to Ag-specific T-lymphocytes by donor or recipient dendritic cells (DCs) induces acute rejection (AR) after solid organ transplantation. It is postulated that myeloid (mDC) and plasmacytoid (pDC) subsets circulate differentially between bone marrow, heart and lymphoid tissues after cardiac transplantation (HTx). We investigated peripheral blood DC subset distribution, maturation and lymphoid homing properties in relation to endomyocardial biopsy (EMB) rejection grade after clinical HTx. Twenty-one HTx recipients under standard immunosuppression were studied in a 9-month follow-up. mDC and pDC numbers were analyzed by flow cytometry in fresh venous whole blood samples collected during the EMB procedures and before histological diagnosis of AR. Subsets were further characterized for maturation marker CD83 and lymphoid homing chemokine receptor CCR7. Although numbers of both DC subsets remained low for the whole post-HTx period, we observed a negative association of mDCs with rejection grade. Repeated measurements analysis revealed that only mDCs decreased during AR episodes. Rejectors had lower mDC numbers after a 3-month follow-up compared to nonrejectors. Furthermore, patients during AR exhibited low proportions of mDCs positive for CD83 or CCR7. These findings suggest peripheral blood mDC depletion in association with selective lymphoid homing of this subset during AR after clinical HTx. Copyright

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American Journal of Transplantation
Department of Pathology

Athanassopoulos, P., Vaessen, L., Maat, A., Zondervan, P., Balk, A., Bogers, A., & Weimar, W. (2005). Preferential depletion of blood myeloid dendritic cells during acute cardiac allograft rejection under controlled immunosuppression. American Journal of Transplantation, 5(4 I), 810–820. doi:10.1111/j.1600-6143.2005.00777.x