CD4+ T-cell receptor transgenic T cells alone can reject vascularized heart transplants through the indirect pathway of alloantigen recognition

Transplantation. 2004 Feb 15;77(3):452-5. doi: 10.1097/01.TP.0000112937.12491.42.


The vast array of epitopes presented by allografts and the diversity of T cells responding to them complicates mechanistic studies of rejection. To minimize these problems, we developed a transgenic (Tg) model system limited to a single T-cell receptor (TCR)/peptide/major histocompatibility complex molecule. Two alloantigen-specific CD4 T-cell clones were used to isolate cDNA encoding the TCRalpha and TCRbeta chains that recognize the Kd54-68/I-Ab epitope. Two different TCR Tg lines were produced in C57BL/6 (B6) mice and crossed onto the B6.Rag1-/- background. B6.Rag1-/- recipients of T cells from TCR Tg Rag1-/-mice promptly rejected B10.D2, but not irrelevant B10.BR, cardiac grafts. Thus, a single allogeneic epitope presented by self-major histocompatibility complex class II is sufficient to activate TCR Tg T cells and serve as a target for rejection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • Coronary Circulation
  • Epitopes
  • Genes, RAG-1
  • Graft Rejection / immunology*
  • Heart Transplantation*
  • Isoantigens / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL / genetics
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / metabolism*


  • Epitopes
  • Isoantigens
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta