Graft endothelial cells are primary targets of host CTL-mediated injury in acute allograft rejection. As an in vitro trial of gene therapy to reduce CTL-mediated endothelial injury, we stably transduced early passage HUVEC with a caspase-resistant mutant form (D34A) of the anti-apoptotic gene Bcl-2. Bcl-2 transductants were compared with HUVEC transduced in parallel with an enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) gene. Both transduced HUVEC have equivalent growth rates in complete medium and both show contact inhibition of growth. However, compared with EGFP-transduced HUVEC, the Bcl-2-transduced calls are resistant to the apoptotic effects of serum and growth factor withdrawal and are also resistant to the induction of apoptosis by staurosporine or by ceramide, with or without TNF. Transduced Bcl-2 did not reduce TNF-mediated NF-κB activation or constitutive expression of class I MHC molecules. HUVEC expressing D34A Bcl-2 were significantly more resistant to lysis by either class I-restricted alloreactive or PHA-redirected CTL than were HUVEC expressing EGFP. We conclude that transduction of graft endothelial cells with D34A Bcl-2 is a possible approach for reducing allograft rejection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy