Platelet-derived CD154: Ultrastructural localization and clinical correlation in organ transplantation

A. H. Charafeddine, E. J. Kim, D. M. Maynard, H. Yi, T. A. Weaver, M. Gunay-Aygun, M. Russell, W. A. Gahl, A. D. Kirk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


CD154 is an immunostimulatory ligand for CD40 that markedly influences alloimmunity. Its presence in platelets suggests that its release and subsequent immune effects are driven by trauma and thus could be relevant following organ transplantation. However, the release of platelet derived CD154 and its consequences have not been investigated in a clinical transplant setting. To better characterize the relationship between platelet activation and CD154 release, we investigated CD154 release by platelets obtained from normal individuals, and patients with two genetic defects that influence platelet granule development. Using these unique patient populations and immune-electron microscopy, we confirmed that CD154 was an alpha granule and not a cell surface protein, and thereafter optimized the methods for its in vivo measurement in humans. We then investigated plasma CD154 levels in kidney and liver transplant recipients and found no evidence that CD154 levels fluctuated systemically as a result of kidney or liver transplant procedures. Paradoxically, we found that kidney transplant patients had significantly lower systemic CD154 levels during episodes of rejection. These data suggest that the immune effects of CD154 are likely mediated through local and not systemic mechanisms, and discourage the use of CD154 as a peripheral biomarker in organ transplantation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3143-3151
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Costimulation
  • platelets
  • trauma


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