Background. Brain death (BD) has been thought to influence the early course of transplanted organs by triggering a series of nonspecific inflammatory events that in turn may increase the kinetics and intensity of the immunological host responses. In this study early nonspecific, cellular, and molecular changes occurring in kidney isografts from BD donors are compared with those from normal anesthetized, ventilated controls. Methods. After induction of brain death, the animals were mechanically ventilated for 6 hr before organ removal. Only rats with stable blood pressure (mean arterial pressure >80 mmHg) were included. Serum creatinines were measured daily. Representative grafts were harvested 6 hr after brain death and between 1 hr and 5 days after engraftment for morphology, immunohistology, and reverse transcriptasepolymerase chain reaction. The presence of serum cytokines was assessed by enzyme linked immunoabsorbant assay. Results. Serum creatinine levels rose slightly in recipients from BD donors. Serum interleukin-1β levels increased within 6 hr versus controls (P<0.05). mRNA levels of interleukin-1β and macrophage inhibitory protein-1 in the kidneys were up-regulated transiently before engraftment (6 hr after BD) and 1 hr after revascularization (P<0.05). By immunohistology, numbers of infiltrating polymorphonuclear leukocytes peaked at 24 hr in parallel with intragraft induction of P- and E-selectin, complement, and other proinflammatory chemokines and cytokines. At 5 days, the isografts from BD donors were highly infiltrated by host leukocyte populations associated with intense up- regulation of their products. In contrast, those from control donors remained relatively normal through this initial follow-up period. Conclusions. The intense nonimmune inflammation produced in isografts after donor BD may represent the initial stages of a continuum between an initial nonspecific and later immune reactivity, when placed in the context of allotransplantation.
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