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Hum Immunol. 1998 May;59(5):275-86.

Role of natural killer cells, macrophages, and accessory molecule interactions in the rejection of pig-to-primate xenografts beyond the hyperacute period.

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Department of Surgery, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Pig-to-primate cardiac xenografts surviving beyond the period of hyperacute rejection succumb after 3-4 days to a secondary immunologic response characterized by xenograft infiltration with NK cells and macrophages. Circulating baboon mononuclear cells contain NK cell precursors which mediate lysis of porcine endothelium by two distinct mechanisms: antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity and lymphokine activation. IL-2 activated NK lysis of porcine endothelium was 2.4-fold stronger than lysis occurring following engagement of FcRIII by xenoreactive IgG. IL-2 augmented NK lysis involved interactions between CD2 and CD49d on baboon NK cells and their respective ligands on porcine endothelium, since NK lysis was reduced either by using Mabs against CD2, CD49d, or porcine VCAM, or by treating endothelial cells with PIPLC to cleave GPI-linked molecules. These results imply that interactions between accessory molecule receptor-ligand pairs on primate NK cells, macrophages and porcine endothelium are of critical importance in delayed xenograft rejection.

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