Background - Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) are currently being evaluated as permanent therapy for end-stage heart failure. Because life- threatening infections limit successful long-term device implantation, we investigated the relationship between quantitative T-cell defects in LVAD recipients and CD95-mediated T-cell apoptosis. Methods and Results - Immunological studies were performed in NYHA class IV patients awaiting cardiac transplantation who received either a TCI Heartmate left ventricular assist device (LVAD) or medical management. Fluorochrome-labeled Mabs were used in T-cell phenotypic analyses. T-cell apoptosis was measured by annexin V binding of T cells cultured in medium for 24 hours. Circulating serum levels of soluble CD95 were measured by ELISA. LVAD recipients had a relative lymphopenia and reduction in CD4 T-cell levels compared with NYHA class IV heart failure controls. These observations were confirmed in a longitudinal study in LVAD recipients, which showed that device implantation was accompanied by progressive and sustained reductions in circulating CD4 T-cell levels. These abnormalities in LVAD recipients were accompanied by increased levels of circulating soluble CD95 and by excessive CD4 and CD8 T-cell apoptosis. Susceptibility to induction of apoptosis was >2-fold greater for CD4 T cells than for CD8 T cells. Conclusions - These results suggest that the reduction in CD4 T-cell levels accompanying LVAD implantation is a consequence of an augmented pathway of CD95-mediated apoptosis. The clinical consequences of these abnormalities may include increased prevalence of systemic infections.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Issue number||19 SUPPL.|
|State||Published - Nov 9 1999|
- Assist devices, left ventricular
- Heart failure