Viral infection induces de novo lesions of coronary allograft vasculopathy through a natural killer cell-dependent pathway

J. A. Graham, R. A. Wilkinson, T. Hirohashi, C. M. Chase, R. B. Colvin, J. C. Madsen, J. A. Fishman, P. S. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


Viral infections including those due to cytomegalovirus have been associated with accelerated cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV) in clinical trials and some animal models. Evidence demonstrating a direct causal relationship between such infections and de novo formation of coronary vascular lesions is lacking. Heterotopic murine cardiac transplants were performed in a parental to F1 combination in animals lacking both T- and B-lymphocytes (RAG -/-). Coronary vasculopathy developed almost exclusively in the presence of recipient infection with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus but not in uninfected controls. This process was also dependent upon the presence of natural killer (NK) cells as depletion of NK cells abrogated the process. These data show that a viral infection in its native host, and not previously implicated in the production of CAV, can contribute to the development of advanced coronary vascular lesions in cardiac allotransplants in mice. These data also suggest that virus-induced CAV can develop via an NK-cell-dependent pathway in the absence of T- and B-lymphocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2479-2484
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2009



  • Allograft arteriopathy
  • Cardiac transplant
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Graft rejection
  • NK-cells
  • Vasculopathy
  • Viral

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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