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Xenotransplantation. 2006 Jan;13(1):53-62.

Rat hepatocyte engraftment in severe combined immunodeficient x beige mice using mouse-specific anti-fas antibody.

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Section of Comparative Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520-8016, USA.



Hepatocyte transplantation holds promise as a treatment for acute and chronic liver failure; however, robust model systems needed to study xenogeneic hepatocyte transfer are lacking. Severe combined immunodeficient x beige (SCID/bg) hybrid mice readily accept foreign tissue. Repopulation of C.B-17 SCID/bg mouse liver with rat hepatocytes was studied following induction of mouse hepatocyte apoptosis using an anti-mouse agonistic fas monoclonal antibody (Jo2 mAb) that does not engage xenogeneic fas.


SCID/bg mice were transplanted with 1 x 10(6) fresh adult rat hepatocytes intrasplenically and treated with various doses, routes and frequencies of Jo2 mAb. Rat cell repopulation was characterized by quantitative immunofluorescent antibody (q-IFA) staining specific for rat dipeptidyl peptidase type IV (DPP-IV) and leucine amino peptidase, amplification of rat genomic DNA using polymerase chain reaction and histopathological and serum biochemistry analyses.


Analysis of liver sections from mice treated twice weekly for 12 weeks with 0.4 mg/kg Jo2 mAb intraperitoneally consistently demonstrated >50% rat hepatocytes in the parenchymal mass by q-IFA. Rat hepatocyte engraftment protected mice from Jo2 mAb-mediated liver hemorrhage and hepatocyte apoptosis. Serum liver enzyme levels did not increase in Jo2 mAb-treated mice that were highly engrafted with rat hepatocytes, in contrast to matched non-engrafted mice. At 12 weeks post-engraftment, minimal fibrosis and inflammation were apparent and liver architecture had returned to near normal. Jo2 mAb did not induce histopathological abnormalities in other tissues known to express fas antigen (i.e. heart, lung).


This novel model represents a simple and robust system of xenogeneic hepatocyte transplantation that could be applied to studies of liver biology, regeneration and hepatocyte transplantation.

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