Myocardial HLA-G reliably indicates a low risk of acute cellular rejection in heart transplant recipients.J Heart Lung Transplant. 2008 May; 27(5):522-7.JH
Human leukocyte antigen-G (HLA-G), a non-classical MHC I protein with restricted tissue expression, plays an essential role in immune tolerance and has been negatively associated with acute and chronic rejection after heart transplantation. We assessed myocardial HLA-G expression in adult heart transplant patients in an attempt to determine the value of this protein in identifying patients with a low risk of acute cellular rejection.
Two groups of patients were included in this study. Group A (non-rejecting) included 29 patients who had no moderate or severe rejection episodes (ISHLT Grade <2R) post-transplant. Group B (rejecting) included 38 patients with at least two moderate or severe rejection episodes (Grade >or=2R) within a 1-year period. Expression of HLA-G in three myocardial biopsies post-transplant from each patient was determined through immunohistochemical staining.
In Group A, 86% of patients had HLA-G(+) biopsies compared with 11% of patients in Group B (p < 0.001; sensitivity 86%, specificity 87%). Whereas 60% of non-rejecting HLA-G(+) patients had at least two positive biopsies, all rejecting HLA-G(+) patients had only one positive biopsy.
There is a significant negative association between myocardial HLA-G expression and acute cellular rejection after cardiac transplantation. Detection of HLA-G appears to reliably indicate a low risk of developing moderate or severe allograft rejection and may, subsequently, allow for a reduced immunosuppressive regimen.