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Transplantation. 2001 Jul 27;72(2):351-4.

Long-term islet allograft function in the absence of chronic immunosuppression: a case report of a nonhuman primate previously made tolerant to a renal allograft from the same donor.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Harvard Medical School and the Transplantation Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, White 510, 55 Fruit Street, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Development of mixed chimerism by donor bone marrow transplantation (DBMT) has led to long-term tolerance of solid organ allografts in nonhuman primates. As an initial attempt to extend this approach to cellular transplant, islet transplant from the same donor was attempted in the recipient previously made tolerant to a kidney allograft.


After the conditioning with ATG, total body irradiation, thymic irradiation, and splenectomy, DBMT was performed followed by 4 weeks of cyclosporine. Kidney transplantation and native nephrectomies were subsequently performed on day 89. After 2.8 years of DBMT, diabetes was induced by streptozocin (STZ) and islets from bone marrow and kidney donor were transplanted without immunosuppression.


After DBMT, the recipient developed chimerism and no evidence of kidney rejection for more than 1000 days. STZ induced diabetes was reversed after the islet transplantation. Islet biopsies demonstrated insulin staining without rejection. Although the recipient became diabetic 300 days after islet transplantation, viable transplanted islets were found in the liver and under the kidney capsule without any evidence of rejection.


Tolerance with a nonmyeloablative conditioning can allow successful pancreatic islet transplantation without immunosuppression. Because no histological evidence of rejection was identified, recurrent diabetes is presumed to be inadequate islet mass.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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