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Research Article

Nitric oxide production in host-versus-graft and graft-versus-host reactions in the rat.

J M Langrehr, N Murase, P M Markus, X Cai, P Neuhaus, W Schraut, R L Simmons and R A Hoffman

Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261.

Published August 1992

The present study was designed to determine whether .N = O produced in vivo during the rejection of histoincompatible tissues might permit serum NO2-/NO3- levels to serve as markers of a rejection reaction. Rat syngeneic and allogeneic liver, heart, bone marrow/spleen cell, small bowel, skin, and sponge matrix grafts were performed and the stable end-products of .N = O, NO2-/NO3-, were serially assayed in the serum of the grafted animals. A significant rise of serum NO2-/NO3- levels in the allografted animals preceded the onset of clinical signs of rejection or graft-versus-host disease, with the exception of the skin and sponge matrix graft models, where elevated serum NO2-/NO3- levels were never observed. In all transplant models, normal serum NO2-/NO3- levels were observed at all times in animals that received syngeneic grafts. Furthermore, treatment of allograft recipients with the immunosuppressive agents FK 506 or cyclosporine A inhibited .N = O production. Determination of serum creatinine levels demonstrated that the elevated serum NO2-/NO3- levels were not caused by kidney dysfunction. Serum NO2-/NO3- levels might be useful early serum markers of the initiation of a rejection reaction or graft-versus-host disease when functional markers of graft dysfunction are not apparent.

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