Transpl Int 2001 Sep;14(5):281-6
Department of Orthopedics, University of Vienna, Währinger Gürtel 18-20, 1090 Vienna, Austria.
Heat shock proteins (HSPs) have been shown to represent potential target molecules for T-cell-mediated allograft rejection in heart and kidney transplants. In the present study, we therefore investigated the expression of HSP subtypes 60, 72, and 73 in normal kidneys and qualitative and/or quantitative changes in rejected renal allografts. Six normal kidney tissue specimens, three biopsies from patients with minimal change nephritis, as well as 37 biopsies and eight transplant nephrectomy specimens of patients with renal allograft rejection were studied. Type and severity of rejection were assessed according to the Banff classification. Immunohistochemical demonstration of HSP expression was performed using specific monoclonal antibodies after wet autoclave antigen retrieval on sections from either Carnoy-fixed (biopsies) or formalin-fixed (transplant nephrectomies) and paraffin-embedded tissue. The expression was scored in a semiquantitative manner. All three subtypes were found to be constitutively expressed in normal kidney tissue and in noninflammatory minimal change nephritis, albeit with a characteristic compartmental and cellular distribution. Rejection resulted in a higher immunohistochemical scoring for all three HSP subtypes in compartments in which they were normally present; in addition, a de novo expression of HSP60 was found in the vascular compartment and, moreover, infiltrating mononuclear cells were strongly immunoreactive for HSP60 and HSP73. Only quantitative differences were observed for HSP72 immunoreactivity. These results indicate that rejection episodes are paralleled by an increased but differential expression of HSPs in the glomerular, tubular, and vascular compartments of the kidney. This enhancement as well as the de novo appearance of HSP60 on vascular endothelial cells might explain the presence of HSP-reactive T lymphocytes in rejected allografts.