Graft arteriosclerosis (GA) remains the leading obstacle to long-term survival of cardiac allografts. The pathogenesis of this chronic disease, though perceived to be multifactorial, is most likely immune-driven. Based on clinical and experimental observations, the humoral arm of the immune system has long been suspected to play a pivotal role in the disease process. In this article, we shall review the evidence generated from key clinical and experimental studies on the role of alloantibodies in GA. We will argue that although the strong correlation between the presence of anti-donor antibodies in clinical and experimental GA is highly suggestive of a pathogenic role for alloantibodies, a direct causal link between GA and the humoral arm of the alloresponse cannot yet be established based on the currently available evidence, and may in fact be one of a number of pathogenic processes that potentiate this vasculopathy. Finally, in this article, we shall discuss some of the potential mechanisms by which alloantibodies may exert their pathogenic effect in GA.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pharmacology (medical)