Previous studies have shown that the expression of Fas ligand (FasL; CD95L) by donor corneas is critical to their survival when placed on allogeneic recipients. Since there have been reports that the cornea expresses Fas, we tested the idea that FasL on lymphoid cells could be an effector molecule during rejection episodes. When FasL defective BALB/c-gld mice were engrafted with allogeneic corneas, significantly more of these corneas were accepted than by normal BALB/c mice. However, this was not due to impaired FasL-mediated effector function in these mice as the allogeneic corneas did not express detectable Fas by Western blot or RT-PCR analysis. Furthermore, donor corneas without Fas were given no survival advantage, but were rejected similar to wild-type donor allogeneic corneas. Examination of the T cell compartment in gld mice revealed that these cells express higher levels of Fas and are more susceptible to Fas-mediated death than wild-type cells. These results indicate that FasL is not an effector molecule in corneal graft rejection and that gld mice show reduced graft rejection due to greater susceptibility of their T cells to Fas-mediated apoptosis.
- Fas ligand
- T lymphocytes