Background: The multifunctional cytokine transforming growth factor- (TGF) beta1 is thought to play a role in the pathogenesis of graft vascular disease (GVD). Polymorphisms at codon 10, (Leu10-->Pro) and codon 25 (Arg25-->Pro) in the signal sequence of the TGF-beta1 gene regulate the production and secretion of the protein. We investigated whether these polymorphisms are risk factors for the development of GVD after clinical heart transplantation.
Method: TGF-beta1 polymorphisms, Leu10-->Pro and Arg25-->Pro, were determined in DNA from heart transplant recipients (n=252) and their donors (n=213), using sequence-specific oligonucleotide probing. GVD was angiographically diagnosed 1 year after transplantation. In addition other potential risk factors including underlying disease, recipient and donor age, recipient and donor gender, number of acute rejections in the first year, cold ischemia time, and HLA mismatches were analyzed by univariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis.
Results: Univariate analysis showed that the recipient TGF-beta1 polymorphism Leu10-->Pro, (P=0.056, chi2 test), underlying disease (P=0.01, chi2 test), number of acute rejections in the first-year (P=0.03, analysis of variance), and donor age (P<0.001, analysis of variance) were risk factors for the development of GVD. The TGF-beta1 Arg25-->Pro polymorphism was not a risk factor. Also in the multivariate analysis, the recipient TGF-beta1 codon 10 polymorphism was associated with GVD, with patients homozygous for Pro at greatest risk (odds ratio 7.7, P=0.03). Apart for the recipient TGF-beta1 Leu10-->Pro polymorphism, donor age appeared to be an independent risk factor for the development of GVD at 1 year. Patients with older donor hearts were at greater risk than patients receiving grafts from younger donors (odds ratio 1.1/year, P<0.001).
Conclusion: Recipient TGF-beta1 Leu10-->Pro polymorphism and higher donor age are independent risk factors for the development of GVD after clinical heart transplantation.