Michael V. Autieri Pages 1 - 9 ( 9 )
Despite advances in immunosuppressive drugs, coronary artery transplant vasculopathy (CATV) is the major cause of graft failure that limits long-term survival of cardiac transplantation. The pathogenesis of CATV involves a chronic immune response of the recipient to the donor vasculature in which activated recipient immune cells damage the endothelium and produce cytokines, resulting in vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) activation. Activated VSMC migrate from the media into the lumen, proliferate, and elaborate cytokines and matrix proteins, resulting in loss of lumen diameter and vascular contractility. Because of its extensive nature, interventions which are successful in patients with conventional coronary artery disease are often not applicable to the majority of patients with CATV. Although intended for immune suppression, many immunosuppressive agents owe at least part of their efficacy to their anti proliferative effects on VSMC, including rapamycin, mycophenolic acid, cyclosporin, calcium channel blockers, and HMG CoA reductase inhibitors. Because activation of VSMC is responsible for most of the obliterative arterial intimal thickening present in solid organ allografts, the induction of expression of a selected set of genes may reflect the status of acceptance of the vasculature by the recipient, and the activation, migration, and proliferation of VSMC represent potential points for therapeutic intervention. The risk of infection and malignancy associated with immunosuppressive therapy further promote the need to identify a molecular target which directly modulates the VSMC response to injury. This review will summarize the anti proliferative effects that immunosuppressive drugs have on VSMC proliferation. We will also describe efforts to define the genes which regulate the vascular response to allograft injury, and describe how some of these proteins may represent targets to reduce VSMC proliferation and attenuate CATV.
Allograft, immunosuppressive, malignancy, coronary artery transplant vasculopathy (CATV)
Department of Physiology, Cardiovascular Research Group, Temple University School of Medicine,Room 810, MRB, 3420 N. Broad St., Philadelphia PA 19140, USA