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Tissue Eng. 2002 Feb;8(1):53-62.

The Th2-restricted immune response to xenogeneic small intestinal submucosa does not influence systemic protective immunity to viral and bacterial pathogens.

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Center for Immunology and Microbial Disease, Albany Medical College, Albany, New York 12208, USA.


Implantation of mice with xenogeneic extracellular matrix (ECM) not only results in tissue remodeling but also elicits a strong Th2 immune response. It is possible that the Th2 cytokines induced by ECM act systemically and result in immune suppression to unrelated antigens. In this case, the recipient would be predisposed to immune dysfunction and have increased susceptibility to various pathogens. The purpose of this study was to determine if ECM implantation does, in fact, influence the immune response to other antigens. Four models were examined to determine the effects of ECM implantation on systemic immunity. In the first model, mice were subcutaneously implanted with porcine small intestinal submucosa (SIS) and immunized with a T-dependent subunit vaccine against influenza virus. The antibody response and protection against lethal infection were then measured. The second model consisted of similar experiments performed using a T-independent polysaccharide vaccine against S. pneumoniae. In the third model, mice were implanted and the cell-mediated response to dinitrofluorobenzene (DNFB) challenge was determined. The fourth model involved examining the influence of SIS implantation on rejection of xenogeneic skin grafts. We found that antibody levels of mice vaccinated against influenza virus or S. pneumoniae were not affected by SIS implantation and these mice did not exhibit increased or decreased susceptibility to either infectious agent. Similarly, mice implanted with ECM showed no cell-mediated immune dysfunction upon challenge with DNFB or xenogeneic skin grafts. The results of this study demonstrate that the Th2-restricted response induced by xenogeneic ECM implantation does not cause generalized immune suppression. Therefore, SIS implantation does not increase susceptibility to viral or bacterial pathogenic agents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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