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ItemOver-expression of human CD39 in mouse liver protects against ischemia reperfusion injury in a model of liver transplantationPommey, Sandra Aude Isabelle ( 2009)Primary graft non-function is one of the major limitations of organ transplantation increasing the risk of rejection and early graft failure. A major cause of primary non-function is ischemia reperfusion injury (IRI), an obligatory insult in transplantation. During procurement, the donor is subjected to a period of ischemia inducing the release of tissue-damaging factors such as nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species. Upon engraftment and reperfusion with the recipient blood, these ischemia-induced factors cause rapid cell death and amplification of the inflammatory response leading to further tissue damage. CD39 is an integral vascular and immune ectonucleotidase. CD39 hydrolyses extracellular nucleotides ATP and ADP into AMP, which is then hydrolysed into adenosine by CD73. Extracellular adenosine produced by the concerted action of CD39 and CD73 has potent anti-inflammatory and anti-coagulation effects acting principally via the purinergic adenosine receptor A2a. NKT cells have only recently been recognised and constitute an important subset of T lymphocytes that display both effector and suppressive functions. NKT cells are found in high proportion in the liver of mice and are implicated by depletion studies in protection against hepatic IRI. We have generated mice transgenic for human CD39 (hCD39) and have shown they have an anti-coagulant phenotype. As CD39 is also critical to immune regulation we hypothesised that transgenic expression of hCD39 would modify lymphocyte development and/or function and consequently impact on ischemia reperfusion injury. Flow cytometric analysis was used to assess the number and phenotype of lymphocytes within the thymus and in the periphery of hCD39 transgenic mice. In vitro and in vivo assays were used to test the function of CD4+ T cells and invariant NKT cells from hCD39 transgenic mice. Bone marrow adoptive transfers experiments defined the role of hCD39 expression on bone marrow progenitor cells in comparison to tissue expression. The importance of adenosine signalling through the A2a receptor was studied by crossing hCD39 transgenic mice with A2a receptor knock-out (KO) mice. The effect of hCD39 expression on ischemia reperfusion injury was evaluated in a model of murine liver transplantation A high level of hCD39 expression in the transgenic thymus resulted in lymphocyte maturation blockade and peripheral lymphopenia of CD4+ T cells and invariant NKT cells. Both lymphocyte populations were functionally deficient. The observed phenotype resulted from the expression of hCD39 on bone marrow progenitor cells but was independent of A2a receptor signalling. Over-expression of hCD39 in transgenic livers was protective against ischemia reperfusion injury induced by cold storage and liver transplantation.