Author(s): Tellides G, Pober JS
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Abstract Cardiac transplantation is the most effective treatment for advanced heart failure. Despite improvements in immunosuppression therapy that prevent acute rejection, cardiac allografts fail at rates of 3\% to 5\% per posttransplant year. The hallmark morphological lesion of chronically failing cardiac allografts, also seen in chronic renal and liver graft failure, is luminal stenosis of blood vessels, especially of conduit arteries. Late graft failure results from widespread secondary ischemic injury to the graft parenchyma rather than direct immune-mediated damage. Although this process affects the entire graft vasculature, graft arteriosclerosis is a suitable term to describe the problem because it applies to different types of failing organs and because it emphasizes the central feature, namely an accelerated form of arterial injury and remodeling. The precise pathogenesis of graft arteriosclerosis is unknown. In this review, we make the case that the signature T-helper type 1 cytokine, interferon (IFN)-gamma, is a key effector in graft arteriosclerosis, which, together with the IFN-gamma-inducing cytokine interleukin-12 and IFN-gamma-inducible chemokines such as CXCR3 ligands, constitute a positive feedback loop for T-cell activation, differentiation, and recruitment that we refer to as the IFN-gamma axis. We evaluate the evidence to support this hypothesis in clinical observational and experimental animal studies. Additionally, we examine the regulation of IFN-gamma production within the artery wall, the effects of IFN-gamma on vessel wall cells, and the outcome of therapeutic agents on IFN-gamma production and signaling. These observations lead us to suggest that new therapies for graft arteriosclerosis should be optimized which focus on reducing IFN-gamma synthesis or actions.
This article was published in Circ Res
and referenced in Alternative & Integrative Medicine