It has been known for some time that transplant recipients may have antibodies to endothelial cells which are not detected on lymphocytes. However, little progress has been made in the analysis of these endothelial antigens. In the present experiments we have attempted to characterize endothelial cell surface antigens to which antibodies were produced during graft rejection. We have used a panel of endothelial cells from umbilical cord veins and found that antibodies with a polymorphic pattern in the panel appeared to correlate with transplant failure of kidney allografts and with the development of transplant-related coronary artery disease (TCAD) in heart transplant recipients. Among 39 patients with kidney allografts, 21 were negative for antibodies to endothelial cells and did well and 18 were positive and had frequent transplant loss (p= 0.001). In 18 patients with TCAD and 20 patients of a comparator group without TCAD, association of coronary disease with endothelial cell antibodies was observed (p< 0.02). To characterize the endothelial antigens responsible for these serologic reactions we performed immunoprecipitation of reactive antibodies with the corresponding endothelial cell surface antigens, followed by protein identification of the target antigens. Nine proteins were identified in these experiments, 5 were non-polymorphic and appeared to represent autoantigens. Four of the isolated proteins appeared to be polymorphic. They were the Human Major Histocompatibility Complex class I chain-related gene A (MICA), already known to be associated with antibody production and graft failure, human keratin 1, a protein known to be polymorphic and expressed on the surface of endothelial cells, eukaryotic translation initiation factor (EIF) 2A and ErbB3-binding protein 1. The possible role of keratin 1 and the other antigens in allograft rejection requires further investigation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy