Research press release


Nature Communications

Organ transplantation: Rejection may not be final


今回、Anita Chong、Maria-Luisa Alegreたちは、マウスに心臓移植を行い、免疫寛容を確立させた後、このマウスに細菌を感染させた。すると、この細菌感染を引き金とする移植拒絶が半数のマウスに起こった。しかし、この免疫活性化は一過性で、免疫系は、この細菌を一掃してしまうと、自発的に当初の免疫寛容状態に戻り、別の心臓移植を受け入れた。以上の結果は、免疫寛容が移植拒絶の記憶に優先する状態を示しており、もしヒトの患者で裏付けられれば、臓器移植、自己免疫とがんの治療法にとって重要な意味を持つ可能性がある。

Rejection of a transplanted organ, triggered by infection, may not mean that a subsequent transplant will also be rejected, reports a study in mice published in Nature Communications. Rejection occurs when the immune system sees a transplanted organ as foreign and attacks it. In some recipients this happens within weeks and further transplants result in an even faster rejection due to the alert state of the immune system. In other cases, immune tolerance is initially established but the graft gets rejected after months or years, which may be triggered by infections. The assumption was that in these cases, a second transplant would also be quickly rejected and that loss of tolerance is permanent.

Anita Chong, Maria-Luisa Alegre and colleagues gave mice a heart transplant and allowed immune tolerance to establish, then challenged the mice with a bacterial infection. The infection triggered transplant rejection in half of the animals. However, the authors discovered that the immune activation was only transient: once the immune system eliminated the bacteria, it spontaneously returned to the earlier state of immune tolerance and accepted another heart transplant. These results describe a condition where tolerance dominates over the memory of transplant rejection and, if they are borne out in human patients, may have implications for therapeutic approaches to transplantation, autoimmunity and cancer.

doi: 10.1038/ncomms8566

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