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Xenotransplantation. 2003 Jan;10(1):41-9.

Immune parameters relevant to neural xenograft survival in the primate brain.

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  • 1Neuroregeneration Laboratories, Harvard Medical School/McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA, USA.


The lack of supply and access to human tissue has prompted the development of xenotransplantation as a potential clinical modality for neural cell transplantation. The goal of the present study was to achieve a better understanding of the immune factors involved in neural xenograft rejection in primates. Initially, we quantified complement mediated cell lysis of porcine fetal neurons by primate serum and demonstrated that anti-C5 antibody treatment inhibited cell death. We then developed an immunosuppression protocol that included in vivo anti-C5 monoclonal antibody treatment, triple drug therapy (cyclosporine, methylprednisolone, azathioprine) and donor tissue derived from CD59 or H-transferase transgenic pigs and applied it to pig-to-primate neural cell transplant models. Pre-formed alphaGal, induced alphaGal and primate anti-mouse antibody (PAMA) titers were monitored to assess the immune response. Four primates were transplanted. The three CD59 neural cell recipients showed an induced anti-alphaGal response, whereas the H-transferase neural cell recipient exhibited consistently low anti-alphaGal titers. Two of these recipients contained surviving grafts as detected by immunohistochemistry using selected neural markers. Graft survival correlated with high dose cyclosporine treatment, complete complement blockade and the absence of an induced PAMA response to the murine anti-C5 monoclonal antibodies.

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