Mouse endothelial CD40 expression does not play a role during the development of transplant arteriosclerosis.
Ensminger SM., Spriewald BM., Fischlein T., Weyand M., Morris PJ., Wood KJ.
Endothelial cells (ECs) are of major interest in allograft rejection. The authors and others have recently shown in different mouse allograft models that, during the development of transplant arteriosclerosis, donor ECs are replaced by recipient ECs. It was the aim of this study to characterize the phenotype of ECs during the development of transplant arteriosclerosis further, with particular interest in their capability to express CD40. Abdominal aortic allografts were transplanted across a full major histocompatibility complex (MHC) barrier using BALB/c (H-2d) mice as donors and C57BL/6 (H-2b) mice as transplant recipients. Aortic allografts were harvested on days 7 and 30 after transplantation and analyzed by double-immunohistochemistry for expression of CD40 and CD31. As the authors have previously shown that ECs in the aortic allograft model are of donor origin on day 7 after transplantation, whereas by day 30 donor ECs have been replaced by ECs of recipient origin, these two time points were chosen for analysis of CD40 expression. Double-immunohistochemistry for CD40 and CD31 revealed no endothelial expression of CD40 at either time point. These initial results obtained with the anti-CD40 monoclonal antibody (mAb) (clone 3/23) were confirmed by two further experiments using two different anti-CD40 mAbs (clone HM40-3 and clone 1/10) that bind to epitopes of the CD40 receptor distinct to that of 3/23. Neither mAb revealed endothelial expression of CD40. Further analysis of the composition of the cellular infiltrate demonstrated that the majority of macrophages were CD40 positive. The data indicate that in this mouse model of aortic transplantation, neither recipient- nor donor-derived ECs express CD40 during the development of transplant arteriosclerosis. Therefore, in contrast to rat or human ECs, CD40 expression by mouse ECs does not seem to play a major role in this form of allograft rejection.