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Surgery. 1997 Apr;121(4):381-91.

Pig to monkey bone marrow and kidney xenotransplantation.

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Transplantation Biology Research Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston 02129, USA.



The intensity of discordant xenograft cellular rejection makes it unlikely that safe doses of immunosuppressive drugs will alone be sufficient to permit long-term survival. We have therefore concentrated our efforts on establishing tolerance to xenogeneic organs through lymphohematopoietic chimerism and the elimination of preformed natural antibodies (nAbs).


Here we report the most recent series of 11 technically successful porcine to nonhuman primate transplantation procedures. In eight experimental animals induction therapy consisted of (1) 3 x 100 cGy nonlethal whole body irradiation (day -6 and day -5) to all animals, (2) horse anti-human thymocyte globulin (day -2, day -1, and day 0) to seven of the animals, (3) 700 cGy thymic irradiation (day -1) to five of the animals, and (4) pig bone marrow infused on day 0 (2-9 x 10(8)/cells/kg). On day 0, just before the renal xenograft, the recipient was splenectomized, and antipig nAbs were removed by means of perfusion of the monkey's blood through either a pig liver (n = 6) or a Gal-alpha (1,3)-Gal adsorption column (n = 5). There control animals did not receive this pretransplantation induction therapy but did undergo hemoperfusion and posttransplantation immunosuppression identical to the experimental animals. All 11 recipients were treated after transplantation with cyclosporin A and 15-deoxyspergualin. Recombinant pig-specific growth factors (interleukin-3 and stem cell factor) were given to six experimental animals from day 0 until the termination of the experiment.


Analysis of recipients' sera by means of flow cytometry indicated the effective removal of immunoglobulin M and immunoglobulin G nAbs by either liver perfusion or column adsorption. In the eight experimental animals, nAb titers remained low until death (up to 15 days), but in the three control animals nAb titers increased substantially with time. The longest surviving recipient maintained excellent kidney function with creatinine levels at 0.8 to 1.3 mg/dl throughout its course. Death occurred at day 15 from complications caused by a urinary leak and pancytopenia. Histologic examination of the xenograft revealed only focal tubular necrosis and cytoplasmic vacuolization, with trace amounts of fibrin and C3 in peritubular capillaries. In this animal a fraction of the peripheral blood cells (3%) at day 7 were of pig origin as detected by pig-specific monoclonal antibodies. In addition, colony-forming assays performed on a bone marrow biopsy specimen taken at day 14 indicated that approximately 30% of the relatively few myeloid progenitors detected were of swine origin.


We have demonstrated that our protocol is effective in the prevention of hyperacute rejection and in the maintenance of excellent function of the renal xenograft for up to 15 days. These results also indicate that at least short-term engraftment of the xenogeneic donor bone marrow cells is possible to achieve in this discordant large animal combination. Longer survivals will be required to assess the possible effect of this engraftment on induction of tolerance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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