To elucidate a role of costimulatory molecule and cell adhesion molecule in hepatic ischemia/reperfusion injury, we examined an alteration in B7-1 (CD80), B7-2 (CD86), and intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1; CD54) expression in the rat liver after warm ischemia/reperfusion injury. To induce hepatic warm ischemia in a rat model, both portal vein and hepatic artery entering the left-lateral and median lobes were occluded by clamping for 30 minutes or 60 minutes, and then reperfused for 24 hours. B7-1, B7-2, and ICAM-1 expressions in the liver were analyzed by immunofluorescence staining and real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Although B7-1 and B7-2 expressions were at very low levels in the liver tissues from normal or sham-operated control rats, both B7-1 and B7-2 expressions were enhanced at protein and messenger RNA (mRNA) levels in the affected, left lobes after warm ischemia/reperfusion. ICAM-1 protein and mRNA were constitutively expressed in the liver of normal and sham-operated control rats, and further up-regulated after warm ischemia/reperfusion. Localization of increased B7-1, B7-2, and ICAM-1 proteins, as well as von Willebrand factor as a marker protein for endothelial cells, was confined by immunofluorescence staining to sinusoidal endothelial cells in hepatic lobules. Data from quantitative real-time RT-PCR analysis revealed that B7-1 and B7-2 mRNA levels were elevated in hepatic lobes after warm ischemia/reperfusion (5.13- and 52.9-fold increase, respectively), whereas ICAM-1 mRNA expression was rather constitutive but further enhanced by warm ischemia/reperfusion (4.24-fold increase). These results suggest that hepatic sinusoidal endothelial cells play a pivotal role as antigen-presenting cells by expressing B7-1 and B7-2 in warm hepatic ischemia/reperfusion injury, and that B7-1 and/or B7-2 might be the primary target to prevent early rejection and inflammatory reactions after hepatic ischemia/reperfusion injury associated with liver transplantation.
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