Mathematical Modeling of Early Cellular Innate and Adaptive Immune Responses to Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury and Solid Organ Allotransplantation

Front Immunol. 2015 Sep 25;6:484. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2015.00484. eCollection 2015.


A mathematical model of the early inflammatory response in transplantation is formulated with ordinary differential equations. We first consider the inflammatory events associated only with the initial surgical procedure and the subsequent ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) events that cause tissue damage to the host as well as the donor graft. These events release damage-associated molecular pattern molecules (DAMPs), thereby initiating an acute inflammatory response. In simulations of this model, resolution of inflammation depends on the severity of the tissue damage caused by these events and the patient's (co)-morbidities. We augment a portion of a previously published mathematical model of acute inflammation with the inflammatory effects of T cells in the absence of antigenic allograft mismatch (but with DAMP release proportional to the degree of graft damage prior to transplant). Finally, we include the antigenic mismatch of the graft, which leads to the stimulation of potent memory T cell responses, leading to further DAMP release from the graft and concomitant increase in allograft damage. Regulatory mechanisms are also included at the final stage. Our simulations suggest that surgical injury and I/R-induced graft damage can be well-tolerated by the recipient when each is present alone, but that their combination (along with antigenic mismatch) may lead to acute rejection, as seen clinically in a subset of patients. An emergent phenomenon from our simulations is that low-level DAMP release can tolerize the recipient to a mismatched allograft, whereas different restimulation regimens resulted in an exaggerated rejection response, in agreement with published studies. We suggest that mechanistic mathematical models might serve as an adjunct for patient- or sub-group-specific predictions, simulated clinical studies, and rational design of immunosuppression.

Keywords: DAMPs; allo-recognition; equation-based model; ischemia/reperfusion injury; ordinary differential equations; transplant.