Xenogeneic serum promotes leukocyte-endothelium interaction under flow through two temporally distinct pathways: Role of complement and nuclear factor-κB

Marina Morigi, Carla Zoja, Stella Colleoni, Stefania Angioletti, Barbara Imberti, Roberta Donadelli, Andrea Remuzzi, Giuseppe Remuzzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Endothelial cell activation and mononuclear cell infiltration are consistent features of discordant xenograft rejection. This study evaluated whether xenogeneic serum as a source of xenoreactive natural antibodies and complement-induced endothelial activation with consequent leukocyte adhesion and transmigration under flow conditions. Porcine aortic endothelial cells (PAEC) were incubated for 30 min, 1 h 30 min, or 5 h with 10% human serum or 10% porcine serum and then perfused with human leukocytes in a parallel plate flow chamber under flow (1.5 dynes/cm2). Adherent and transmigrated cells were counted by digital image analysis. Results showed that human serum significantly (P <0.01) increased over time the number of adherent leukocytes compared with porcine serum. Stimulation of PAEC with human serum also promoted a progressive increase in leukocyte transmigration that reached statistical significance (P <0.01) at 1 h 30 min and at 5 h compared with porcine serum. Studying the role of complement in leukocyte-endothelium interaction in xenogeneic conditions, a marked complement C3 deposition on PAEC exposed to human serum was shown by immunofluorescence, whereas cells incubated with porcine serum were negative. Next, it was documented that human serum decomplemented by heating and C3-deficient human serum failed to promote both leukocyte adhesion and transmigration, results that were comparable to porcine serum. To elucidate the intracellular mediators involved in endothelial cell activation by xenogeneic serum, this study focused on transcriptional factor nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), a central regulator for the induction of different genes, including adhesive molecules and chemoattractants. Positive nuclear staining of NF-κB (p65 subunit) found by confocal fluorescence microscopy of PAEC exposed to human serum was taken to reflect NF-κB activation. NF-κB was instead strictly localized in the cell cytoplasm in PAEC incubated with the homologous serum. Heat-inactivated human serum failed to activate NF-κB. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay of nuclear extracts from PAEC exposed to human serum revealed an intense NF- κB activation that was inhibited by the NF-κB inhibitor pyrrolidinedithiocarbamate. The NF-κB inhibitors pyrrolidinedithiocarbamate and tosyl-phe-chloromethylketone did not affect the number of adherent and transmigrated leukocytes in PAEC exposed to human serum for 30 min and I h 30 min. Both inhibitors instead significantly reduced leukocyte adhesion and transmigration induced by human serum at 5 h. Confocal fluorescence microscopy studies showed that human serum induced an increase in the expression of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 and intercellular adhesion molecule-1. Functional blocking of these adhesive molecules with the corresponding antibodies significantly inhibited xenogeneic serum-induced leukocyte adhesion. These data suggest that leukocyte adhesion and transmigration are directly dependent on complement deposited on PAEC in the early phase of cell activation (30 min and 1 h 30 min) induced by xenogeneic serum, whereas leukocyte adhesive events observed after 5 h of incubation of endothelial cells with xenogeneic serum are possibly regulated by transcription of NF-κB-dependent genes. The finding that xenogeneic serum promotes leukocyte-endothelial interaction depending on NF-κB activation might be relevant for designing future therapeutic strategies intended to prolong xenograft survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2197-2207
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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