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J Clin Immunol. 2007 May;27(3):266-74. Epub 2007 Mar 15.

Unexpected immunoresponse to Gal and APA antigens in diabetic type 1 patients receiving neonatal pig islets after 6 years.

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Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, UNAM, Mexico City, Mexico.


Cotransplantation of porcine islets and Sertoli cells into preimplanted subcutaneous devices improve metabolic control in type 1 diabetic patients, and survive grafted for more than 4 years. We report here, further assessment of the endocrine and porcine nature of the surviving cells and the immune responses elicited toward Gal alpha(1,3)-Gal beta(1,4)-GlcNAc (Gal) antigen in patients who received a second and third transplants. No immunosuppressive drugs were administered. We were able to immunostain insulin- and glucagon-positive cells in all biopsies of patients and Sertoli cell markers in 60.9% of biopsies. Additionally, all biopsies tested, amplified the porcine COII gene. Patients demonstrated an increase in antipig antibodies in response to the first transplant with a decreasing response toward the second and third transplants. In all transplants, the IgG levels promptly returned to basal values after 3-4 months. The long-term survival of porcine cells and the reduced humoral immune response to multiple transplants indicate a form of tolerance. We have not been able to find CD25-positive cells, indicating that it is probably an immune accommodation of the graft.

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