The long-term success of cardiac allograft transplantation is limited by the development of a particular type of coronary atherosclerosis referred to as transplant vascular disease (TVD). Although the exact pathogenesis of TVD remains to be established, there is growing evidence that TVD involves immunological mechanisms operating in a milieu of nonimmunological risk factors. These immunological events constitute the principal initiating stimuli, resulting in endothelial injury with consequent myointimal hyperplasia, extracellular matrix synthesis and invocation of proteoglycan (PG)-lipoprotein interactions, leading, ultimately, to lipid retention in the vessel wall. The profound early 'insudation' of apolipoproteins along with uncertain endothelial 'intactness' in human coronary arteries in the transplanted heart, suggest that permeability of these vessel walls must be altered. Further, frequent and typically diffuse intracellular and extracellular accumulation of lipids and PGs in both the intimal and medial layers of cardiac allograft arteries has affirmed that the alloimmune environment accompanied with aberrant expression of extracellular matrix components, especially PGs, may strongly promote lipid imbibition in the allograft vascular bed, leading to TVD. In summary, the cumulative data support the view that profound lipid accumulation occurs in allograft arteries beginning very early post-transplantation, contributing to intimal thickening; that lipoproteins enter and are trapped in the subendothelial tissue, apparently through interactions with PGs; that with direct glycosaminoglycans, apolipoprotein interactions may occur, or they may occur through bridging molecules like phospholipase A2 and lipoprotein lipase; and that prolonged residence in the intima leads to lipoprotein modification, with subsequent modulation of biological processes that promote atherogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58B-65B
JournalThe Canadian journal of cardiology
Volume20 Suppl B
StatePublished - Aug 2004


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