Interleukin-18 (IL-18) and IL-12 have been shown to play an important role in the induction of interferon-γ (IFN-γ). IFN-γ induces the proliferation of T cells and natural killer (NK) cells and augments the Th1 immune cascade. The role of IL-18 and IL-12 in the induction of IFN-γ following allogeneic heart transplantation has not been described. We sought to characterize the IL-12 and IL-18 response to murine allogeneic heart transplantation, particularly with respect to IFN-γ production and histologic transplant rejection. Forty-eight heterotopic heart transplants were performed in two groups of mice: syngeneic C3H/HeN to C3H/HeN mice and allogeneic BALB/C to C3H/HeN mice. Transplants were followed out to 2, 6, 10, and 14 days. Six transplants were performed in each group. Serum and splenic samples were used to evaluate the cytokine response by ELISA. Explanted heart tissue was processed for evidence of histologic rejection, and RT-PCR was performed to evaluate the IL-12, IL-18, and IFN-γ signal qualitatively. Analysis of variance (ANOVA), Fisher's projected least significant difference (PLSD) was used for statistical analysis. Transplant rejection occurred in the allogeneic group histologically by day 6 and clinically by day 10. Serum IFN-γ levels rose significantly by day 6 in the allogeneic group and then continued to rise in the splenocyte cultures. Serum IL-18 also rose significantly in the allogeneic group at day 6 compared with syngeneic group. RT-PCR revealed that the allogeneic tissue contained an increased signal for IL-12, IL-18, and IFN-γ beginning at day 6 and peaking at day 10 after transplant. Beginning 6 days after transplantation, IL-12 and IL-18 appear to play a significant role in the induction of IFN-γ in allogeneic heart transplants.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology