Elaine Reed, PhD

Professor of Pathology, UCLA Immunogenetics Center, Department of Pathology

Dr. Reed's research efforts are focused on understanding the mechanism of chronic allograft rejection. The development of anti-HLA antibodies following transplantation is associated with transplant atherosclerosis, a manifestation of chronic allograft rejection. Reed and her colleagues postulate that anti-HLA antibodies are pathogenic in chronic rejection by binding to HLA class I and class II molecules on endothelium and smooth muscle of the allograft and transducing signals that stimulate cell proliferation. The researchers' studies have shown that when anti-HLA antibodies bind to distinct HLA-A and -B locus molecules on endothelial and smooth muscle cells, there is increased tyrosine phosphorylation of intracellular proteins (FAK, Src), stimulation of mTOR, induction of fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptor expression and cell proliferation. These studies suggest anti-HLA antibodies can play a key role in the initiation of proliferative signals, which stimulate the development of myointimal hyperplasia associated with chronic rejection of human allografts. Current efforts are focused on elucidating the class I and class II signal transduction pathway. Understanding this mechanism will permit the development of new therapeutic modalities for the treatment and prevention of transplant atherosclerosis and the extension of functional life of transplanted organs. An additional focus of Dr. Reed's research is in the development of novel methods for immunologic assessment of the immune response in transplant patients.