The innate immune system plays a critical role in allograft rejection. Alloresponses involve numerous cytokines, chemokines, and receptors that cause tissue injury during rejection. To dissect these inflammatory mechanisms, we developed cell transplantation models in dipeptidylpeptidase-deficient F344 rats using mycophenolate mofetil and tacrolimus for partial lymphocyte-directed immunosuppression. Syngeneic hepatocytes engrafted in liver, whereas allogeneic hepatocytes were rejected but engrafted after immunosuppression. These transplants induced mRNAs for >40 to 50 cytokines, chemokines, and receptors. In allografts, innate cell type–related regulatory networks extended to granulocytes, monocytes, and macrophages. Activation of Tnfa and its receptors or major chemokine receptor–ligand subsets persisted in the long term. An examination of the contribution of Tnfa in allograft response revealed that it was prospectively antagonized by etanercept or thalidomide, which resolved cytokine, chemokine, and receptor cascades. In bioinformatics analysis of upstream regulator networks, the Cxcl8 pathway exhibited dominance despite immunosuppression. Significantly, Tnfa antagonism silenced the Cxcl8 pathway and decreased neutrophil and Kupffer cell recruitment, resulting in multifold greater engraftment of allogeneic hepatocytes and substantially increased liver repopulation in retrorsine/partial hepatectomy model. We conclude that Tnfa is a major driver for persistent innate immune responses after allogeneic cells. Neutralizing Tnfa should help in avoiding rejection and associated tissue injury in the allograft setting.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine