T-bet plays a crucial role in Th1 development. We investigated the role of T-bet in development of allograft rejection in an established MHC-II mismatched (bm12 into B6) model of chronic cardiac allograft rejection and vasculopathy (CAV). Intriguingly, and in contradistinction to IFN-?-/- mice that are protected from CAV, T-bet-/- recipients develop markedly accelerated allograft rejection accompanied by early severe vascular inflammation and vasculopathy, and infiltration by predominantly IL-17 producing CD4 T cells. Concurrently, T-bet-/- mice exhibit a Th1-deficient environment characterized by profound IFN-? deficiency, a Th2 switch characterized by increased production of IL-4, IL-5, IL-10, and IL-13 cytokines, and increased production of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-6, IL-12p40 and IL-17. Neutralization of IL-17 inhibits accelerated allograft rejection in T-bet-/- mice. Interestingly, CD4 but not CD8 T cell deficiency in T-bet-/- mice affords dramatic protection from vasculopathy and facilitates long-term graft acceptance. This is the first report establishing that in the absence of Th1 mediated alloimmune responses, CD4 Th17 cells mediate a proinflammatory response culminating in severe accelerated allograft rejection and vasculopathy. These results have important implications for development of novel therapies to target this intractable problem in clinical solid organ transplantation. Based on published and our preliminary data, T-bet by affecting T helper cell differentiation plays an important role in inhibiting a proinflammatory Th17 type immune response. Our central hypothesis is that Th17 immunity plays a critical role in mediating aggressive alloimmune responses, allograft rejection and resistance to tolerance induction, particularly in the absence of Th1 immunity. The main goal of this proposal is to define the functions and mechanisms of action of Th17 cells in mediating alloimmune responses in vivo and identifying targets for inhibition of Th17 immunity as a means of developing novel strategies to achieve durable and reproducible tolerance in murine transplant models to translate to non-human primates and ultimately to humans.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Clinical Investigator Award (CIA) (K08)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Allergy & Clinical Immunology-1 (AITC)
Program Officer
Prograis, Lawrence J
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Northwestern University at Chicago
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Thorp, Edward B; Stehlik, Christian; Ansari, M Javeed (2015) T-cell exhaustion in allograft rejection and tolerance. Curr Opin Organ Transplant 20:37-42
Gallon, Lorenzo; Traitanon, Opas; Sustento-Reodica, Nedjema et al. (2015) Cellular and molecular immune profiles in renal transplant recipients after conversion from tacrolimus to sirolimus. Kidney Int 87:828-38
Sarraj, Bara; Ye, Junsheng; Akl, Ahmed Ibrahim et al. (2014) Impaired selectin-dependent leukocyte recruitment induces T-cell exhaustion and prevents chronic allograft vasculopathy and rejection. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 111:12145-50
D'Addio, Francesca; Ueno, Takuya; Clarkson, Michael et al. (2013) CD160Ig fusion protein targets a novel costimulatory pathway and prolongs allograft survival. PLoS One 8:e60391
D'Addio, Francesca; Boenisch, Olaf; Magee, Ciara N et al. (2013) Prolonged, low-dose anti-thymocyte globulin, combined with CTLA4-Ig, promotes engraftment in a stringent transplant model. PLoS One 8:e53797
Abadja, Farida; Sarraj, Bara; Ansari, Mohammed J (2012) Significance of T helper 17 immunity in transplantation. Curr Opin Organ Transplant 17:8-14
Blatner, Nichole R; Mulcahy, Mary F; Dennis, Kristen L et al. (2012) Expression of ROR?t marks a pathogenic regulatory T cell subset in human colon cancer. Sci Transl Med 4:164ra159
Mohamadzadeh, Mansour; Pfeiler, Erika A; Brown, Jeffrey B et al. (2011) Regulation of induced colonic inflammation by Lactobacillus acidophilus deficient in lipoteichoic acid. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 108 Suppl 1:4623-30
D'Addio, Francesca; Yuan, Xueli; Habicht, Antje et al. (2010) A novel clinically relevant approach to tip the balance toward regulation in stringent transplant model. Transplantation 90:260-9
Vergani, Andrea; D'Addio, Francesca; Jurewicz, Mollie et al. (2010) A novel clinically relevant strategy to abrogate autoimmunity and regulate alloimmunity in NOD mice. Diabetes 59:2253-64

Showing the most recent 10 out of 12 publications