Journal of Nuclear Cardiology

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 132–139

Burden of myocardial damage in cardiac allograft rejection: Scintigraphic evidence of myocardial injury and histologic evidence of myocyte necrosis and apoptosis

  • Mireia Puig
  • Manel Ballester
  • Xavier Matías-Guiu
  • Ramón Bordes
  • Ignasi Carrió
  • Frank D. Kolodgie
  • Cristina Pons
  • Arnald García
  • Maria Rosa Aymat
  • Jaume Marrugat
  • Vicenç Brossa
  • Marta Campreciós
  • Josep M. Padró
  • Josep M. Caralps
  • Renu Virmani
  • Jaime Prat
  • Jagat Narula
Original Articles

DOI: 10.1016/S1071-3581(00)90033-3

Cite this article as:
Puig, M., Ballester, M., Matías-Guiu, X. et al. J Nucl Cardiol (2000) 7: 132. doi:10.1016/S1071-3581(00)90033-3

Abstract

Background

Because myocardial damage determines morbidity and outcomes in heart transplant rejection, assessment of total burden of myocardial damage is highly desirable. In addition to myocyte necrosis, programmed cell death, or apoptosis, has recently been shown to contribute to cardiac allograft rejection. In the present study, we noninvasively determined myocardial damage by antimyosin scintigraphy and compared it with necrotic and apoptotic myocardial damage in endomyocardial biopsy (EMB) specimens.

Methods and Results

Forty scintigraphic and histologic studies were simultaneously performed. Of these, 19 patients had no EMB evidence of allograft rejection (group I, International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation [ISHLT] grade 0/4), 12 had mild rejection (group II, ISHLT grades 1A and 1B), and 9 had evidence of moderate allograft rejection (group III, ISHLT grades 2, 3A, and 3B). None of the biopsies demonstrated severe allograft rejection (ISHLT grade 4/4). The severity of global myocyte damage in 40 patients was assessed by antimyosin scintigraphy. Endomyocardial biopsies were performed in these patients within 48 hours of imaging study; biopsy specimens were characterized for presence of myocyte necrosis and apoptosis. Evidence of myocyte necrosis was observed in 9 (23%) of 40 EMB specimens. Nineteen EMB specimens of group I had no inflammation and no myocyte necrosis, 12 of group II specimens showed interstitial mononuclear cell infiltration (only) but no myocyte necrosis, and all 9 of group III specimens had evidence of cellular infiltration and myocyte damage. Myocyte necrosis was assessed by hematoxylin-eosin and trichrome staining of EMB specimens. On the other hand, apoptosis of myocytes, as assessed by TUNEL staining of DNA fragments, was seen in 22 (55%) of the 40 biopsy specimens: 47%, 58%, and 67% in groups I, II and III, respectively. Abnormal antimyosin scan findings, indicating presence of myocardial damage, were observed in 9 of the 19 patients in group I and in all patients in groups II and III. Although positive antimyosin scan results in group III patients are concordant with the presence of histologic myocardial necrosis, myocardial uptake of antimyosin antibodies in groups I and II (no apparent myocyte damage at light microscopic examination) could reflect either sampling error of the biopsy or ongoing apoptotic myocyte damage.

Conclusions

Apoptosis of myocytes is frequently observed during cardiac allograft rejection. The presence of apoptotic myocytes in the absence of histologic rejection activity in patients with antimyosin uptake suggests that apoptosis could be an additional mechanism of transplant-associated myocardial damage.

Key Words

Heart transplantation programmed cell death antibody radionuclide imaging 

Copyright information

© the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mireia Puig
    • 1
  • Manel Ballester
    • 1
  • Xavier Matías-Guiu
    • 2
  • Ramón Bordes
    • 2
  • Ignasi Carrió
    • 3
  • Frank D. Kolodgie
    • 5
  • Cristina Pons
    • 2
  • Arnald García
    • 2
  • Maria Rosa Aymat
    • 1
  • Jaume Marrugat
    • 4
  • Vicenç Brossa
    • 1
  • Marta Campreciós
    • 1
  • Josep M. Padró
    • 1
  • Josep M. Caralps
    • 1
  • Renu Virmani
    • 5
  • Jaime Prat
    • 2
  • Jagat Narula
    • 6
  1. 1.Cardiomyopathy and Heart Transplantation ProgramHospital de la Santa Creu i Sant PauBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Service of PathologyHospital de la Santa Creu i Sant PauBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Service of Nuclear MedicineHospital de la Santa Creu i Sant PauBarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.Institut Municipal d'Investigació MèdicaBarcelonaSpain
  5. 5.Armed Forces Institute of PathologyWashington, DC
  6. 6.Heart Failure/Transplant CenterHahnemann University HospitalPhiladelphia
  7. 7.Cardiomyopathy and Transplantation Program Department of CardiologyHospital de la Santa Creu i Sant PauBarcelonaSpain