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Transgenic animals in experimental xenotransplantation models: orthotopic heart transplantation in the pig-to-baboon model

, : Transgenic animals in experimental xenotransplantation models: orthotopic heart transplantation in the pig-to-baboon model. Transplantation Proceedings 39(2): 577-578

Pig organs are at risk for hyperacute and acute vascular rejection mediated by anti-pig antibodies, mainly binding to the Gal alpha(1,3)Gal epitope. Acute cellular rejection is characterized by progressive infiltration of mononuclear cells. There is an ongoing search for immunosuppressive regimens that provide adequate protection against all patterns of xenograft rejection, but have no severe impact on the condition of xenograft recipients. Herein orthotopic heart transplantations were performed from hDAF or hCD46 piglets to nonsplenectomized baboons. Basic immunosuppression consisted of tacrolimus, sirolimus, GAS914, steroids, and ATG. Group 1 received basic immunosuppression. Group 2 was additionally treated with rituximab and group 3 with half-dose cyclophosphamide. Group 4 received cyclophosphamide and an anti-HLA-DR antibody. Three baboons received GAS914 and TPC. Monitoring included the regular assessment of anti-porcine antibodies, blood counts, therapeutic drug monitoring, and graft histology. Two grafts failed due to technical mistakes. In group 1, baboons died after 1 and 9 days. In group 2, maximum survival was 30 hours. In group 3, baboons lived 20 hours, 25 days, and 14 days. Group 4 survival times were 9.5 hours, 5.5 hours, 4 days, 34 hours, and 3 days. An increase of non-Gal alpha(1,3)Gal antibodies was observed. Depositions of immunoglobulins and complement revealed a humoral rejection process. No cellular infiltration could be observed. In conclusion, suppressing cellular rejection with half-dose cyclopbosphamide together with tacrolimus and sirolimus produced longer graft survival with a good general condition. Prevention of acute xenograft rejection further needs inhibition of non-Gal alpha(1,3)Gal cytotoxicity by sufficient depression of B-cell activation.

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Accession: 013275456

PMID: 17362786

DOI: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2006.12.021

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