Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 115–122

Memory T Cells Mediate Cardiac Allograft Vasculopathy and are Inactivated by Anti-OX40L Monoclonal Antibody


DOI: 10.1007/s10557-013-6502-9

Cite this article as:
Wang, H., Zhang, Z., Tian, W. et al. Cardiovasc Drugs Ther (2014) 28: 115. doi:10.1007/s10557-013-6502-9



Cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV) is a major complication limiting the long-term survival of cardiac transplants. The role of memory T cells (Tmem) in the pathogenesis of CAV remains elusive. This study investigated the role of Tmem cells in the development of CAV and the therapeutic potential of targeting the OX40/OX40L pathway for heart transplant survival.


Tmem cells were generated in Rag-1-/- C57BL/6 (B6) mice by homeostatic proliferation (HP) of CD40L null CD3+ T cells from B6 mice. Rag-1-/- B6 mice (H-2b) harboring Tmem cells received cardiac allografts from BALB/c mice (H-2d), and were either untreated or treated with anti-OX40L monoclonal antibody (mAb) (0.5 mg/mouse/day) for 10 days.


Six weeks after HP, the majority of transferred CD40L-/- T cells in Rag-1-/- B6 mice were differentiated to CD44high and CD62Llow Tmem cells. BALB/c heart allografts in Rag-1-/- B6 recipient mice in the presence of these Tmem cells developed a typical pathological feature of CAV; intimal thickening, 100 days after transplantation. However, functionally blocking the OX40/OX40L pathway with anti-OX40L mAb significantly prevented CAV development and reduced the Tmem cell population in recipient mice. Anti-OX40L mAb therapy also significantly decreased cellular infiltration and cytokine (IFN-γ, TNF-α and TGF-β) expression in heart allografts.


Tmem cells mediate CAV in heart transplants. Functionally blocking the OX40/OX40L pathway using anti-OX40L mAb therapy prevents Tmem cell-mediated CAV, suggesting therapeutic potential for disrupting OX40-OX40L signaling in order to prevent CAV in heart transplant patients.


Heart transplantation Cardiac allograft vasculopathy Memory T cell OX40 pathway Anti-OX40L antibody therapy 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hao Wang
    • 1
  • Zhixiang Zhang
    • 1
  • Weijun Tian
    • 1
  • Tong Liu
    • 1
  • Hongqiu Han
    • 1
  • Bertha Garcia
    • 2
  • Xian C. Li
    • 3
  • Caigan Du
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of General SurgeryTianjin Medical University General Hospital, Tianjin General Surgery InstituteTianjinChina
  2. 2.Department of PathologyThe University of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  3. 3.Department of MedicineHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Urologic SciencesThe University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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