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Biochimie. 2001 Jul;83(7):557-63.

The α-Gal epitope (Galα1-3Galβ1-4GlcNAc-R) in xenotransplantation.

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Department of Cardiovascular-Thoracic Surgery, Rush University, 1653 West Congress Parkway, IL 60612, Chicago, USA.


Many patients with failing organs (e.g., heart, liver or kidneys), do not receive the needed organ because of an insufficient number of organ donors. Pig xenografts have been considered as an alternative source of organs for transplantation. The major obstacle currently known to prevent pig to human xenotransplantation is the interaction between the human natural anti-Gal antibody and the α-gal epitope (Galα1-3Galβ1-4GlcNAc-R), abundantly expressed on pig cells. This short review describes the characteristics of anti-Gal and of the alpha-gal epitope, their role in inducing xenograft rejection and some experimental approaches for preventing this rejection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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