Objective: To assess whether diastolic graft function is influenced by intragraft interleukin 2 (IL-2) messenger RNA (mRNA) expression in rejecting cardiac allografts.
Design: 16 recipients of cardiac allografts were monitored during the first three months after transplantation. The presence of IL-2 mRNA in endomyocardial biopsies (n = 123) was measured by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. To determine heart function, concurrent M mode and two dimensional Doppler echocardiograms were analysed.
Results: Histological signs of acute rejection (International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) rejection grade > 2) were strongly associated with IL-2 mRNA expression (IL-2 mRNA was present in 12 of 20 endomyocardial biopsies (60%) with acute rejection and in 24 of 103 endomyocardial biopsies (23%) without acute rejection, p = 0.002). No significant relation was found between either histology or IL-2 mRNA expression alone and the studied echocardiographic parameters. However, stratification of the echocardiographic data into those of patients with and those without acute rejection showed that during acute rejection IL-2 mRNA expression was significantly associated with increased left ventricular total wall thickness (mean change in total wall thickness was +0.22 cm in patients with IL-2 mRNA expression versus −0.18 cm in patients without IL-2 mRNA expression, p = 0.048).
Conclusions: An increase in left ventricular total wall thickness precedes IL-2 positive acute rejection after heart transplantation. Thus, cardiac allograft rejection accompanied by intragraft IL-2 mRNA expression may be indicative of more severe rejection episodes.
- acute rejection
- AR+, in the presence of acute rejection
- AR−, in the absence of acute rejection
- cDNA, complementary DNA
- E, peak early mitral flow velocity
- EMB, endomyocardial biopsy
- IL, interleukin
- ISHLT, International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation
- mRNA, messenger RNA
- PCR, polymerase chain reaction
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