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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Aug 5;94(16):8767-72.

Pig but not human interferon-gamma initiates human cell-mediated rejection of pig tissue in vivo.

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Department of Biology, Yale University School of Medicine, 333 Cedar School, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.


Split-thickness pig skin was transplanted on severe combined immunodeficient mice so that pig dermal microvessels spontaneously inosculated with mouse microvessels and functioned to perfuse the grafts. Pig endothelial cells in the healed grafts constitutively expressed class I and class II major histocompatibility complex molecules. Major histocompatibility complex molecule expression could be further increased by intradermal injection of pig interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) but not human IFN-gamma or tumor necrosis factor. Grafts injected with pig IFN-gamma also developed a sparse infiltrate of mouse neutrophils and eosinophils without evidence of injury. Introduction of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells into the animals by intraperitoneal inoculation resulted in sparse perivascular mononuclear cell infiltrates in the grafts confined to the pig dermis. Injection of pig skin grafts on mice that received human peripheral blood mononuclear cells with pig IFN-gamma (but not human IFN-gamma or heat-inactivated pig IFN-gamma) induced human CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells and macrophages to more extensively infiltrate the pig skin grafts and injure pig dermal microvessels. These findings suggest that human T cell-mediated rejection of xenotransplanted pig organs may be prevented if cellular sources of pig interferon (e.g., passenger lymphocytes) are eliminated from the graft.

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