• IL-3 Triggers Chronic Rejection of Cardiac Allografts by Activation of Infiltrating Basophils.

IL-3 Triggers Chronic Rejection of Cardiac Allografts by Activation of Infiltrating Basophils.

Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950) (2019-05-10)
Saidou Balam, Gabriela Schiechl-Brachner, Simone Buchtler, Dagmar Halbritter, Kathrin Schmidbauer, Yvonne Talke, Sophia Neumayer, Jan-Niklas Salewski, Frederike Winter, Hajime Karasuyama, Yoshinori Yamanishi, Kerstin Renner, Edward K Geissler, Matthias Mack

Chronic rejection is a major problem in transplantation medicine, largely resistant to therapy, and poorly understood. We have shown previously that basophil-derived IL-4 contributes to fibrosis and vasculopathy in a model of heart transplantation with depletion of CD4+ T cells. However, it is unknown how basophils are activated in the allografts and whether they play a role when cyclosporin A (CsA) immunosuppression is applied. BALB/c donor hearts were heterotopically transplanted into fully MHC-mismatched C57BL/6 recipients and acute rejection was prevented by depletion of CD4+ T cells or treatment with CsA. We found that IL-3 is significantly upregulated in chronically rejecting allografts and is the major activator of basophils in allografts. Using IL-3-deficient mice and depletion of basophils, we show that IL-3 contributes to allograft fibrosis and organ failure in a basophil-dependent manner. Also, in the model of chronic rejection involving CsA, IL-3 and basophils substantially contribute to organ remodeling, despite the almost complete suppression of IL-4 by CsA. In this study, basophil-derived IL-6 that is resistant to suppression by CsA, was largely responsible for allograft fibrosis and limited transplant survival. Our data show that IL-3 induces allograft fibrosis and chronic rejection of heart transplants, and exerts its profibrotic effects by activation of infiltrating basophils. Blockade of IL-3 or basophil-derived cytokines may provide new strategies to prevent or delay the development of chronic allograft rejection.