Background - Chronic graft vascular disease (CGVD) in cardiac allografts has been defined as a slowly evolving vasculopathy unresponsive to conventional immunosuppression. We compared 4 rodent models of CGVD to evaluate the reproducibility of CGVD in heart allografts. Rapamycin (Rapa) and cyclosporine (CSA) were then used to treat CGVD. Methods and Results - Hearts were harvested and placed heterotopically into allogenic recipients. CGVD scores of PVG allografts from ACI recipients treated with CSA on days 1 through 10 were significantly elevated on day 90 (n = 16) compared with other models (immunosuppression used): (1) Lewis to F344 recipients (CSA), (2) Brown Norway to Lewis (FK506), and (3) DA to Wistar-Firth (methylprednisolone, azathioprine, CSA). Although delayed (day 60 to 90) CSA treatment had no effect (n = 6), delayed Rapa (3 mg · kg-1 · d-1 IP) reversed CGVD in PVG grafts (0.22 ± 0.19 on day 90, n = 6). ACI isografts showed no evidence of CGVD (n = 6) at day 90. Immunohistochemistry of PVG grafts revealed perivascular infiltrates consisting of CD4+ T cells and limited numbers of macrophages persisting up to day 90. Flow cytometry demonstrated increased levels of anti-donor antibody at day 90, which was significantly inhibited by Rapa treatment. Conclusions - PVG grafts developed a significant increase in CGVD without evidence of ongoing myocardial rejection. This CGVD appeared to be mediated by both cellular and humoral mechanisms, given CD4+ perivascular infiltrates and increased levels of anti-donor antibody. The anti-CGVD effectiveness of Rapa during a period in which there was little myocardial cellular infiltrate supports a novel mechanism of effect such as smooth muscle or B-cell inhibition.
- Coronary disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)