Experimental and clinical transplantation : official journal of the Middle East Society for Organ Transplantation

T-regulatory cells in chronic rejection versus stable grafts.

PMID 25894149


Studying regulatory T cells in kidney allograft acceptance versus chronic rejection may help in the understanding of more mechanisms of immune tolerance and, in the future, may enable clinicians to induce immune tolerance and decrease the use of immunosuppressive drugs. The aim of the current study was to evaluate regulatory T cells in kidney transplant patients with stable graft versus transplant with biopsy-proven chronic rejection. The 3 groups that were studied included: kidney transplanted patients with no rejection episodes (n = 43); transplanted patients with biopsy-proven renal rejection (n = 27); and healthy age-matched nontransplanted individuals as controls (n = 42).The percentage of regulatory T cells (CD4+CD25+Foxp3+) in blood was determined by flow cytometry. The regulatory T cell percentage was significantly lower in chronic rejection patients than control or stable graft groups. No significant difference was observed in regulatory T cell percentage between the stable graft and control groups. In the stable graft group, patients on rapamycin had a significantly higher regulatory T cell percentage than patients on cyclosporine. No effect of donor type, infection, or duration after transplant was observed on regulatory T cell percentage. The results of the current study are consistent with previous studies addressing the function of regulatory T cells in inducing immunotolerance after kidney transplant. Considering the established role of regulatory T cells in graft maintenance and our observation of high regulatory T cell percentage in patients receiving rapamycin than cyclosporine, we recommend including rapamycin when possible in immunosuppressive protocols. The findings from the current study on the chronic rejection group support ongoing research of having treatment with regulatory T cells, which may constitute a novel, efficient antirejection therapy in the future.