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Xenotransplantation. 2001 Feb;8(1):3-14.

Both IgG and IgM anti-pig antibodies induce complement activation and cytotoxicity.

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Department of Nephrology, Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands. A.Roos@LUMC.NL


Hyperacute rejection of pig xenografts transplanted in humans is caused by endothelial cell binding of pre-formed xenoreactive antibodies (XAb) and activation of the classical pathway of complement. Human XAb mainly consist of anti-Galalpha1 3Gal antibodies, which occur in IgM, IgG and IgA classes. Whereas IgM anti-Galalpha1 3Gal antibodies have an established role in hyperacute rejection, the potential role of IgG XAb in this process is still controversial. The aim of the present study was to assess the specificity and functional properties of IgG and IgM XAb. Both classes were present in all human plasma samples tested, with a high inter-individual variability. Levels of IgG XAb did not correlate with levels of IgM XAb. Binding to Galalpha1 3Gal is strongly correlated with binding to the pig cell line PK15, both for IgG and for IgM, pointing to Galalpha1 3Gal as the major antigen recognized. Both purified IgM and IgG induced C3 deposition on PK15 cells and complement-dependent cytotoxicity in a dose-dependent way. The combination of IgG and IgM XAb resulted in an additive effect on cytotoxicity. Affinity-purified IgG anti-Galalpha1 3Gal antibodies were 22 times less potent than IgM in induction of cytotoxicity. These results indicate a quantitative, but not a qualitative, difference between IgM and IgG anti-pig antibodies concerning their complement-activating properties. Therefore, both classes of XAb are of importance in the pathogenesis of hyperacute rejection, and the relative importance of each class may differ considerably between individual patients, depending on the ratio of IgG and IgM XAb present in serum.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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