Essential role of PDL1 expression on nonhematopoietic donor cells in acquired tolerance to vascularized cardiac allografts

Am J Transplant. 2011 Apr;11(4):832-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2011.03451.x. Epub 2011 Mar 14.


The PD1:PDL1 pathway is an essential negative costimulatory pathway that plays a key role in regulating the alloimune response. PDL1 is expressed not only on antigen-presenting cells (APCs) but also cardiac endothelium. In this study, we investigated the importance of PDL1 expression on donor cardiac allograft in acquired transplantation tolerance in a fully MHC-mismatched model. We generated PDL1 chimeric mice on B6 background that expressed PDL1 on either hematopoietic cells or nonhematopoietic cells of the heart. Sham animals were used as controls. These hearts were then transplanted into BALB/c recipients and treated with CTLA4-Ig to induce tolerance. Cardiac endothelium showed significant expression of PDL1, which was upregulated upon transplantation. While the absence of PDL1 on hematopoietic cells of the heart resulted in delayed rejection and prevented long-term tolerance in most but not all recipients, we observed an accelerated and early graft rejection of all donor allografts that lacked PDL1 on the endothelium. Moreover, PDL1-deficient endothelium hearts had significant higher frequency of IFN-γ-producing alloreactive cells as well as higher frequency of CD8(+) effector T cells. These findings demonstrate that PDL1 expression mainly on donor endothelium is functionally important in a fully allogeneic mismatched model for the induction of cardiac allograft tolerance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B7-1 Antigen / physiology*
  • B7-H1 Antigen
  • Bone Marrow / metabolism*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Graft Rejection
  • Heart Transplantation*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Peptides / physiology*
  • Transplantation Tolerance*
  • Transplantation, Homologous


  • B7-1 Antigen
  • B7-H1 Antigen
  • Cd274 protein, mouse
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Peptides