A new rat infection-heart transplant model: Effect of infection on graft survival studies

J. Kobayashi, C. Mavroudis, S. E. Crawford, V. R. Zales, C. L. Backer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Considerable progress has been made in survival rates of heart transplant recipients; however, infections continue to be a major cause of death after transplantation. Although infection itself appears to cause immunologic suppression in some nontransplantation studies, the lack of an infection- transplant animal model has limited further investigation of this observation. We evaluated the utility of a heterotopic rat infection heart- transplant model by studying the effect of infection and limited administration of two immunosuppressive agents, cyclosporine and FK506, on allograft rejection and survival. Lewis rats received ACI heart allografts, and intraperitoneal infection was induced by cecal ligation. Infection was confirmed by blood and ascitic fluid cultures. Results showed that graft survival was slightly, but significantly, higher (p < 0.05) in group II (transplantation with infection) when compared to the control group I (transplantation only). Histologic rejection scores were less (p < 0.05) in group II 6 days after transplantation. The second phase of the study compared the effect of infection after transplantation in rats given a 1-week course of cyclosporine or FK506, which were discontinued after the induction of infection. Although the cyclosporine group had prolonged survival when compared to the FK506 group (p < 0.05), the respective infection groups receiving immunosuppression revealed no significant difference in allograft survival or histologic rejection scores when compared to the control groups. In this preliminary study, infection without immunosuppression resulted in a slight, but statistically significant, increase in allograft survival and reduced acute cellular rejection. In those groups receiving immunosuppressive agents, no additive immunosuppressive effect was attributable to bacterial infection. Further studies in this model investigating differential cytokine expression between infection and rejection are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)659-664
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Transplantation


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