Differential Expression of Prostaglandin E2 Receptors in Porcine Kidney Transplants

Andrew Harner, Y. Wang, Xuexiu Fang, Todd D. Merchen, Philip B. Cox, Sam Ho, Daniel Kleven, Thomas Thompson, N. Stanley Nahman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Acute rejection of a kidney allograft results from adaptive immune responses and marked inflammation. The eicosanoid prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) modulates the inflammatory response, is generated by cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2), and binds to 1 of the 4 G protein-coupled E prostanoid cell surface receptors (EP1-4). Receptor activation results in in proinflammatory (EP1 and EP3) or anti-inflammatory (EP2 and EP4) responses. We theorized that expression of the components of the COX-PGE2-EP signaling pathway correlates with acute rejection in a porcine model of allogeneic renal transplantation. Method: COX-2 enzyme and EP receptor protein expression were quantitated with western blotting and immunohistochemistry from allotransplants (n = 18) and autotransplants (n = 5). Linear regression analysis was used to correlate EP receptor expression with the Banff category of rejection. Results: Pigs with advanced rejection demonstrated significant increases in serum PGE2 metabolites, while pigs with less rejection demonstrated higher tissue concentrations of PGE2 metabolites. A significant negative correlation between COX-2 expression and Banff category of rejection (R = −0.877) was shown. Rejection decreased expression of EP2 and EP4. For both receptors, there was a significant negative correlation with the extent of rejection (R = −0.760 and R = −0.891 for EP2 and EP4, respectively). Rejection had no effect on the proinflammatory receptors EP1 and EP3. Conclusion: Downregulation of COX-2 and the anti-inflammatory EP2 and EP4 receptors is associated with acute rejection in unmatched pig kidney transplants, suggesting that the COX-2-PGE2-EP pathway may modulate inflammation in this model. Enhancing EP2 and/or EP4 activity may offer novel therapeutic approaches to controlling the inflammation of acute allograft rejection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2124-2131
Number of pages8
JournalTransplantation Proceedings
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Transplantation


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