Scientific publications

Clinico-pathologic, immunohistochemical, and TUNEL study in early cardiac allograft failure

May 1, 2000 | Magazine: Cardiovascular Pathology

Panizo-Santos A., Lozano M.D., Distefano S., Inogés S., Pardo J.

Early cardiac allograft failure (ECAF) was defined as acute allograft failure in the early transplant period. The aim of this study is to elucidate the clinicopathological and immunohistochemical characteristics and the role of apoptosis in ECAF in nine patients. We reviewed preoperative clinical data and morphological data at the time of autopsy or retransplantation.

We also performed TUNEL assay and immunohistochemistry to study fibronectin and tubulin beta-II. The average recipient and donor age was 48 +/- 10.3 and 28 +/- 7.11 respectively. Seven patients died at a mean time of 26 hours. The remaining two patients underwent retransplantation and are alive. The mean cold ischemic time was 124. 1 +/- 44.5 minutes. No patient had a panel reactive antibody >15% and lymphocytic crossmatch was positive in one case. All cases had grade 2-3 of coagulative necrosis, which correlated positively with fibonectin accumulation in myocyte cytoplasm, and cytoplasmic tubulin loss (p < 0.05). TUNEL technique showed in all cases some degree of DNA strand breaks in cardiomyocytes. Endothelium DNA strand breaks were seen in seven cases.

Patients transplanted because of idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy had a significantly higher degree of DNA strand breaks in cardiomyocytes and endothelial cells (p = 0.03 and p = 0.02) than those transplanted because of ischemic cardiomyopathy.

These results indicate that ECAF may be caused by ischemic-reperfusion damage to the donor heart assessed by myocyte coagulative necrosis, fibronectin accumulation in myocytes, tubulin loss, and DNA strand breaks of cardiomyocytes and endothelium. The use of a combination of these techniques might be appropriate in the diagnosis of ECAF in endomyocardial biopsies when it is suspected clinically.

CITATION  Cardiovasc Pathol. 2000 May-Jun;9(3):153-9