Lesions of T-Cell-Mediated Kidney Allograft Rejection in Mice Do Not Require Perforin or Granzymes A and B


*Corresponding author: Dr. Philip F. Halloran, phil.halloran@ualberta.ca


Organ allograft rejection is strongly associated with the presence of alloreactive cytotoxic T cells but the role of cytotoxicity in the pathologic lesions is unclear. Previous studies showed that the principal lesions of kidney rejection – interstitial infiltration, tubulitis, and endothelial arteritis – are T-cell-dependent and antibody-independent. We studied the role of cytotoxic granule components perforin and granzymes A and B in the evolution of the T-cell-mediated lesions of mouse kidney transplant rejection. By real-time RT-PCR, allografts rejecting in wild-type hosts at days 5, 7, 21, and 42 showed massively elevated and persistent expression of perforin and granzymes A and B, but evolution of tubulitis and arteritis did not correlate with increasing granzyme or perforin expression. Allografts transplanted into hosts with disrupted genes for perforin or granzymes A and B showed no change in tubulitis, arteritis, or MHC induction. Thus the development of the histologic lesions diagnostic of T-cell-mediated kidney transplant rejection are associated with but not mediated by perforin or granzyme A or B. Together with previous graft survival studies, these results indicate that the granule-associated cytotoxic mechanisms of T cells are not the effectors of T-cell-mediated allograft rejection.