BACKGROUND: As the potent, specific immunosuppressants emerge, the survival rate after intestinal transplantation is improved to some extent. However, the adverse effects of immunosuppressants and expensive treatment costs are not tolerable for many patients. Therefore, it is clinically meaningful to choose traditional Chinese medicine which presents immunosuppressive effects. Artesunate has immune suppression effect, reduces acute rejection following small intestine transplantation, and improves the success rate of small intestine transplantation.
OBJECTIVE: To observe the effect and action mechanism of artesunate in acute rejection after small intestine transplantation in rats.
METHODS: Allogeneic small intestine transplantation models were established in the closed group of Sprague-Dawley rats and Wistar rats, and then were randomly divided into three groups, syngenic transplantation group (SD→SD), allogeneic transplantation group (Wistar→SD), and artesunate treatment group (Wistar→SD + artesunate 60 mg/kg per day, intraperitoneal injection).
RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Rats in syngenic transplantation group survived for more than 10 days and they were all killed on day 10. The average survival of rats in allogeneic transplantation group and artesunate treatment group was respectively (6.73±0.58) days and (8.50±0.74) days, with significant differences between the two groups (P < 0.01). Histopathological examination showed that, there was no apparent rejection in syngenic transplantation group specimens, but mild, moderate and severe rejections in allogeneic transplantation group ondays 3, 5, 7. In treatment group, some specimens had mild rejection, but appeared relatively late to a low degree. Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay results revealed that, serum interleukin-2 and interferon-gamma expression levels in allogeneic transplantation group were significantly higher than other two groups after surgery (P < 0.01), serum interleukin-2 gene expression level in treatment group was also higher than syngenic transplantation group, but there was no significant difference (P > 0.05), serum interferon-gamma expression level in treatment group was higher than syngenic transplantation group (P < 0.05). Artesunate can inhibit acute rejection after rat small intestine transplantation, and its mechanism may be related to inhibition effect on the secretion and expression of interleukin-2, interferon-gamma and other cytokines.