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Este mes en... Xenotransplantation:

  • Immunological and physiological observations in baboons with life-supporting genetically engineered pig kidney grafts
    Background Genetically engineered pigs could provide a source of kidneys for clinical transplantation. The two longest kidney graft survivals reported to date have been 136 and 310 days, but graft survival >30 days has been unusual until recently. Methods Donor pigs (n=4) were on an α1,3-galactosyltransferase gene-knockout (GTKO)/human complement regulatory protein (CD46) background (GTKO/CD46). In addition, the pigs were transgenic for at least one human coagulation regulatory protein. Two baboons received a kidney from a six-gene pig (GroupA) and two from a three-gene pig (GroupB). Immunosuppressive therapy was identical in all four cases and consisted of anti-thymoglobulin (ATG)+anti-CD20mAb (induction) and anti-CD40mAb+rapamycin+corticosteroids (maintenance). Anti-TNF-α and anti-IL-6R mAbs were administered to reduce the inflammatory response. Baboons were followed by clinical/laboratory monitoring of immune/coagulation/inflammatory/physiological parameters. At biopsy or euthanasia, the grafts were examined by microscopy. Results The two GroupA baboons remained healthy with normal renal function >7 and >8 months, respectively, but then developed infectious complications. However, no features of a consumptive coagulopathy, eg, thrombocytopenia and reduction of fibrinogen, or of a protein-losing nephropathy were observed. There was no evidence of an elicited anti-pig antibody response, and histology of biopsies taken at approximately 4, 6, and 7 months and at necropsy showed no significant abnormalities. In contrast, both GroupB baboons developed features of a consumptive coagulopathy and required euthanasia on day 12. Conclusions The combination of (i) a graft from a specific six-gene genetically modified pig, (ii) an effective immunosuppressive regimen, and (iii) anti-inflammatory therapy prevented immune injury, a protein-losing nephropathy, and coagulation dysfunction for >7 months. Although the number of experiments is very limited, our impression is that expression of human endothelial protein C receptor (±CD55) in the graft is important if coagulation dysregulation is to be avoided.
  • Human IL-6, IL-17, IL-1β, and TNF-α differently regulate the expression of pro-inflammatory related genes, tissue factor, and swine leukocyte antigen class I in porcine aortic endothelial cells
    Background Pro-inflammatory cytokines play important pathological effects in various diseases and allotransplantation; however, their pathological role in xenotransplantation remains elusive. In pig-to-human cell or organ transplantation, whether porcine cells or organs are activated by human cytokines or not as an important question needs to be investigated. Methods We investigated the effect of human IL-6, IFN-γ, IL-17, IL-1β, and TNF-α in xenotransplantation using several in vitro models and porcine aortic endothelial cells (PAECs) as target cells. The downstream signaling pathways activated by these cytokines were studied with Western blotting, the regulation of the pro-inflammatory related genes and pro-coagulation factor were assessed using real-time PCR or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and swine leukocyte antigen (SLA) class I and SLA class II DR were analyzed by flow cytometry. Results We found that NF-κB and mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) were activated by recombinant human IL-17 (rhIL-17), rhIL-1β, and rhTNF-α, while rhIL-6 activated signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) in PAECs. The adhesion molecules (E-selectin, VCAM-1, and ICAM-1), pro-inflammatory gene (IL-6), chemokines (IL-8 and MCP-1), and the pro-coagulation factor (tissue factor) were induced by rhIL-17, rhIL-1β, and rhTNF-α, while rhIL-6 only increased the expression of MCP-1 and tissue factor. Using flow cytometry analysis, SLA class I was upregulated in PAECs after exposure to rhIL-1β and rhTNF-α, but not rhIL-6 or rhIL-17, whereas SLA class II DR could not be induced by rhIL-6, rhIL-17, rhIL-1β, or rhTNF-α, although it could by recombinant porcine IFN-γ (rpIFN-γ). Although activation of PAECs by rhIL-17 alone was not strong, rhIL-17 combined with rhTNF-α amplified the expression of E-selectin, IL-6, and IL-8. Unexpectedly, we found that tocilizumab, a humanized anti-human IL-6 receptor antibody, could not block rhIL-6-mediated STAT3 activation in PAECs. Human IFN-γ could not activate STAT1 or induce the downstream gene expression in PAECs, which was consistent with a previous report. Conclusion In conclusion, our data suggest that human IL-6, IL-17, IL-1β, and TNF-α significantly activate PAECs and are likely to promote inflammation and coagulation reaction in response to xenograft.
  • Therapeutic regulation of systemic inflammation in xenograft recipients
    Inflammation is known to preclude tolerance after transplantation. We have previously shown that systemic inflammation in xenograft recipients (SIXR) precedes activation of coagulation in the absence of T cell responses. Accordingly, SIXR may amplify innate and adaptive immune responses against xenografts after pig-to-primate xenotransplantation, even with efficient immunosuppressive therapy. We evaluated the impact of anti-inflammatory agents on pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines in pig artery patch and heart xenograft recipients. Baboons received an artery patch (Group1, n=8) or heart (Group2, n=4) from genetically engineered pigs. All baboons received lymphodepletion with thymoglobulin (ATG) and costimulation blockade-based immunosuppression (anti-CD40 and/or CTLA4Ig). In Group1, baboons received either (i) no anti-inflammatory agents (n=2), (ii) cobra venom factor (CVF, n=2), (iii) α1-antitrypsin (AAT, n=2), or (iv) interleukin (IL)-6 receptor antagonist (IL-6RA, n=2). In Group2, all baboon received corticosteroids, either without (n=2) or with (n=2) IL-6RA. Serum IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-17, IL-6, IL-8, MCP-1, and sCD40L levels were measured by Luminex. Fibrinogen, D-dimers, and C-reactive protein (C-RP) were also measured. Recipient baboon T cell proliferation was evaluated by mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR) before and after transplantation. Pig and baboon tissue factor (TF) mRNA levels in heart xenografts were measured by RT-PCR. In no recipient was a marked increase in T cell response to pig cells observed after transplantation. In Groups 1 and 2, post-transplantation levels of IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-17 remained comparable to or lower than pre-transplant levels, except in one heart recipient that succumbed to CMV infection. In Group1, when no anti-inflammatory agent was administered, post-transplant levels of IL-6, IL-8, and MCP-1 were elevated. After CVF, IL-6, IL-8, and MCP-1 remained low. After IL-6RA, IL-6 and MCP-1 were elevated. After AAT, IL-8 was elevated. sCD40L became elevated intermittently in most recipients irrespective of the administered anti-inflammatory agent. In Group2, IL-6 was transiently elevated, particularly after IL-6RA administration. MCP-1 gradually increased by 2 months in Group2 recipients. sCD40L generally remained low except in one recipient. In Group1 and Group2 recipients, C-RP levels were elevated except after IL-6RA administration, while D-dimers were elevated regardless of administration of anti-inflammatory agent. In Group2, pig TF mRNA levels were increased in heart xenografts compared to naive pig hearts, irrespective of IL-6 receptor antagonist administration. Additionally, baboon TF mRNA levels were detectable in heart xenografts, but not in naive pig hearts. Some pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines are elevated in xenograft recipients, even with efficient T cell-directed immunosuppressive therapy. Persistent elevation of D-dimers, and individual cytokines and chemokines suggest a continuous inflammatory response, despite administration of anti-inflammatory agents. Systemic administration of combined anti-inflammatory agents as well as complement regulation may be essential to prevent SIXR after xenotransplantation.
  • Testing of microencapsulated porcine hepatocytes in a new model of fulminant liver failure in baboons
    Background There is no standard therapy for acute liver failure. Hepatocyte transplantation has been proposed for temporary liver function support, while the injured liver regenerates or while waiting for transplantation. We have previously shown such efficacy for microencapsulated porcine hepatocytes in mice with fulminant liver failure. We aimed to establish a large animal model for fulminant liver failure to assess the efficacy of microencapsulated porcine hepatocytes in temporary liver function support. Methods The model was developed in baboons; for testing microencapsulated hepatocytes, the best condition was 75% hepatectomy and 60 min warm ischemia time. Fulminant liver failure was characterized by steep increases in liver biochemical parameters, severe steatosis, and massive hepatocyte necrosis during the first 10 days. Hepatocytes from miniature swine were microencapsulated in alginate-poly-l-lysine microspheres, and transplanted intraperitoneally immediately after hepatectomy and warm ischemia (80-120 mL packed hepatocytes in 200-350 mL microspheres, about 30%-50% of the baboon's native liver volume). Results In the control group, three of five animals were sacrificed after 6-10 days because of fulminant liver failure, and two of five animals recovered normal liver function and survived until elective euthanasia (28 days). In the treatment group of four animals, one animal developed liver failure but survived to 21 days, and three animals recovered completely with normal liver function. Conclusions The results indicate that microencapsulated porcine hepatocytes provide temporary liver function support in baboons with fulminant liver failure. These data support development of this cell therapy product toward clinical trials in patients with acute liver failure.
  • Hemodynamic and perioperative management in two different preclinical pig-to-baboon cardiac xenotransplantation models
    Background The perioperative phase of preclinical cardiac xenotransplantations significantly affects the experimental outcome. Moderate or even severe hemodynamic and respiratory impairment occurs frequently in baboons after receiving a cardiac transplant. The perioperative management of such postoperative instability is very demanding, especially in the experimental setting. We compared perioperative changes of hemodynamic and laboratory findings during orthotopic and heterotopic thoracic cardiac xenotransplantations and describe our monitoring, treatment and intensive care. Methods Twenty-eight pig-to-baboon cardiac xenotransplantations were performed using either the orthotopic (oHTx, n=5) or heterotopic thoracic (htHTx; n=23) technique. In both techniques, cardioplegia and an intraoperative cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) were required. Preoperatively, intensive care (eg, transfusions, catecholamine therapy) was provided and fast extubation was targeted. A central venous catheter, a femoral arterial thermodilution catheter, a telemetric pressure transmitter and transthoracic echocardiography were used to monitor the animal. Baboon jackets with a tethering system were used to continuously apply medication postoperatively and permit blood sampling, also after extubation of the animal and transfer into the cage. Perioperative survival, hemodynamics, catecholamine doses, respiratory function and weaning from respirator were compared. Perioperative organ damage was evaluated based on laboratory findings 12 hours after transplantation. Results Recipients could be weaned from CPB in the 20 htHTx and all five oHTx experiments, and three htHTx procedures were terminated during the operation. The time of cardiopulmonary bypass was significantly lower in the heterotopic group (oHTx median 171 [157-193] minutes; htHTx median 144 [100-190] minutes; P=.02). In 17 htHTx procedures, no inotropics were used, whereas epinephrine had to be administered in four of the five oHTx experiments; the mean time of catecholamine support was longer in the oHTx group (oHTx 972±348 minutes vs htHTx 111±92 minutes; P<.01). After htHTx, weaning off the respirator was possible in 19 of 20 cases (one died due to pneumothorax). After oHTx, three of the five baboons could be weaned off the respirator; in these cases, the arterial saturation was higher compared with the extubated baboons after htHTx (oHTx 99±1% vs htHTx 91±4%, P=.01). Intraoperative blood loss was similar between the two groups, and hemostasis was impaired after all procedures, but relevant postoperative bleeding never occurred. Conclusion Intensive intra- and postoperative monitoring and care is required in both transplantation techniques as a requirement for successful weaning from CPB and respirator. After htHTx, the animals needed less catecholamines and were hemodynamically more stable. Even though pulmonary function was often impaired after htHTx, weaning from the respirator and extubation was more successful in this group.
  • Gastrostomy tube placement for long-term oral drug administration in non-human primates
    Background Non-human primates (NHPs) are often used as recipients in preclinical transplantation research that in most cases involves administration of various drugs including immunosuppressants. Long-term oral drug administration, particularly tacrolimus, is challenging in the transplant recipient NHPs. Oral drug administration method using the mixture of drug and fruit juice has been used in NHPs, but this is not always effective in all monkeys. To those monkeys who are poorly compliant, oral drug administration in restraint or administration using gastrostomy tube should be necessary. The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of between oral drug administration in restraint and administration using gastrostomy tube and to report complications and solutions to overcome the problems related to gastrostomy tube for long-term oral drug dosing in rhesus monkeys. Methods Fifteen of 4- to 5-year-old male and female healthy rhesus monkeys weighing 5.0-6.8 kg were used as recipients for porcine pancreatic islet transplantation. Oral drug administration in restraint was used for four monkeys, and gastrostomy tube was placed to other 11 monkeys (8-French Feeding tube, n=6; Tri-Funnel Replacement Gastrostomy tube, n=5). Oral immunosuppressive drugs such as sirolimus and tacrolimus were administered through the tube. The efficacy and the extent of ease for administration and related complications were compared between two groups. Results and Conclusions The complication of gastrostomy included a transient inflammation in the skin and peritonitis caused by a leakage around implantation site (one case), which could be overcome by changing suture method and tube type to interlocking box suture and Tri-Funnel Replacement Gastrostomy tube, respectively. Despite these complications, oral drug administration using gastrostomy tube allowed us to perform accurate dosage of drug administration and to reduce the stress that both the monkey and the researcher may experience. Taken together, this study showed that gastrostomy tube placement is a better alternative to oral drug administration in restraint for long-term oral drug administration in rhesus monkeys who tend to refuse to eat the mixture of drug and fruit juice.
  • Transgenic expression of human leukocyte antigen-E attenuates GalKO.hCD46 porcine lung xenograft injury
    Background Lung xenografts remain susceptible to loss of vascular barrier function within hours in spite of significant incremental advances based on genetic engineering to remove the Gal 1,3-αGal antigen (GalTKO) and express human membrane cofactor protein (hCD46). Natural killer cells rapidly disappear from the blood during perfusion of GalTKO.hCD46 porcine lungs with human blood and presumably are sequestered within the lung vasculature. Here we asked whether porcine expression of the human NK cell inhibitory ligand HLA-E and β2 microglobulin inhibits GalTKO.hCD46 pig cell injury or prolongs lung function in two preclinical perfusion models. Methods Lungs from pigs modified to express GalTKO.hCD46 (n=37) and GalTKO.hCD46.HLA-E (n=5) were harvested and perfused with human blood until failure or elective termination at 4 hours. Airway pressures and pulmonary artery hemodynamics were recorded in real time. Blood samples were also collected throughout the experiment for analysis. Porcine aortic endothelial cells (PAECs) from each genotype were cultured in monolayers in microfluidic channels and used in fluorescent cytotoxicity assays using human NK cells. Results HLA-E expression on GalTKO.hCD46 PAECs was associated with significantly decreased antibody-dependent and antibody-independent NK-mediated cytotoxicity under in vitro conditions simulating physiologic shear stress. Relative to GalTKO.hCD46 pig lungs perfused with human blood on an ex vivo platform, additional expression of HLA-E increased median lung survival (>4 hours, vs 162 minutes, P=.012), and was associated with attenuated rise in pulmonary vascular resistance, and decreased platelet activation and histamine elaboration. As expected, HLA-E expression was not associated with a significant difference in NK cell adhesion to endothelial cells in vitro, or NK cell and neutrophil sequestration during organ perfusion. Conclusions We conclude human NK cell activation contributes significantly to GalTKO.hCD46 pig endothelial injury and lung inflammation and show that expression of HLA-E is associated with physiologically meaningful protection of GalTKO.hCD46 cells and organs exposed to human blood.
  • Transplantation of hepatocytes from genetically engineered pigs into baboons
    Background Some patients with acute or acute-on-chronic hepatic failure die before a suitable human liver allograft becomes available. Encouraging results have been achieved in such patients by the transplantation of human hepatocyte progenitor cells from fetal liver tissue. The aim of the study was to explore survival of hepatocytes from genetically engineered pigs after direct injection into the spleen and other selected sites in immunosuppressed baboons to monitor the immune response and the metabolic function and survival of the transplanted hepatocytes. Methods Baboons (n=3) were recipients of GTKO/hCD46 pig hepatocytes. All three baboons received anti-thymocyte globulin (ATG) induction and tapering methylprednisolone. Baboon 1 received maintenance immunosuppressive therapy with tacrolimus and rapamycin. Baboons 2 and 3 received an anti-CD40mAb/rapamycin-based regimen that prevents sensitization to pig solid organ grafts. The baboons were euthanized 4 or 5 weeks after hepatocyte transplantation. The baboon immune response was monitored by the measurement of anti-non-Gal IgM and IgG antibodies (by flow cytometry) and CFSE-mixed lymphocyte reaction. Monitoring for hepatocyte survival and function was by (i) real-time PCR detection of porcine DNA, (ii) real-time PCR for porcine gene expression, and (iii) pig serum albumin levels (by ELISA). The sites of hepatocyte injection were examined microscopically. Results Detection of porcine DNA and porcine gene expression was minimal at all sites of hepatocyte injection. Serum levels of porcine albumen were very low—500-1000-fold lower than in baboons with orthotopic pig liver grafts, and approximately 5000-fold lower than in healthy pigs. No hepatocytes or infiltrating immune cells were seen at any of the injection sites. Two baboons (Baboons 1 and 3) demonstrated a significant increase in anti-pig IgM and an even greater increase in IgG, indicating sensitization to pig antigens. Discussion and Conclusions As a result of this disappointing experience, the following points need to be considered. (i) Were the isolated pig hepatocytes functionally viable? (ii) Are pig hepatocytes more immunogenic than pig hearts, kidneys, artery patch grafts, or islets? (iii) Does injection of pig cells (antigens) into the spleen and/or lymph nodes stimulate a greater immune response than when pig tissues are grafted at other sites? (iv) Did the presence of the recipient's intact liver prevent survival and proliferation of pig hepatocytes? (v) Is pig CD47-primate SIRP-α compatibility essential? In conclusion, the transplantation of genetically engineered pig hepatocytes into multiple sites in immunosuppressed baboons was associated with very early graft failure. Considerable further study is required before clinical trials should be undertaken.
  • Antibody formation towards porcine tissue in patients implanted with crosslinked heart valves is directed to antigenic tissue proteins and αGal epitopes and is reduced in healthy vegetarian subjects
    Background Glutaraldehyde-fixed porcine heart valves (ga-pV) are one of the most frequently used substitutes for insufficient aortic and pulmonary heart valves which, however, degenerate after 10-15 years. Yet, xeno-immunogenicity of ga-pV in humans including identification of immunogens still needs to be investigated. We here determined the immunogenicity of ga-pV in patients with respect to antibody formation, identity of immunogens and potential options to reduce antibody levels. Methods Levels of tissue-specific and anti-αGal antibodies were determined retrospectively in patients who received ga-pV for 51 months (n=4), 25 months (n=6) or 5 months (n=4) and compared to age-matched untreated subjects (n=10) or younger subjects with or without vegetarian diet (n=12/15). Immunogenic proteins were investigated by Western blot approaches. Results Tissue-specific antibodies in patients were elevated after 5 (1.73-fold) and 25 (1.46-fold, both P<.0001) months but not after 51 months, whereas anti-Gal antibodies were induced 4.75-fold and 3.66-fold after 5 and 25 months (both P<.0001) and still were significantly elevated after 51 months (2.85-fold, P<.05). Western blots of porcine valve extracts with and without enzymatic deglycosylation revealed strong specific staining at ≈65 and ≈140 kDa by patient sera in either group which were identified by 2D Western blots and mass spectrometry as serum albumin and collagen 6A1. Vegetarian diet reduced significantly (0.63-fold, P<.01) the level of pre-formed αGal but not of tissue-specific antibodies. Conclusion Immune response in patients towards ga-pV is induced by the porcine proteins albumin and collagen 6A1 as well as αGal epitopes, which seemed to be more sustained. In contrast, in healthy young subjects pre-formed anti-Gal antibodies were reduced by a meat-free nutrition.
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  • Complement C3 inhibitor Cp40 attenuates xenoreactions in pig hearts perfused with human blood
    Background The complement system plays a crucial role in acute xenogeneic reactions after cardiac transplantation. We used an ex vivo perfusion model to investigate the effect of Cp40, a compstatin analog and potent inhibitor of complement at the level of C3. Methods Fifteen wild-type pig hearts were explanted, cardiopleged, and reperfused ex vivo after 150 minutes of cold ischemia. Hearts were challenged in a biventricular working heart mode to evaluate cardiac perfusion and function. In the treatment group (n=5), the complement cascade was blocked at the level of C3 using Cp40, using diluted human blood. Untreated human and porcine blood was used for controls. Results Throughout the perfusion, C3 activation was inhibited when Cp40 was used (mean of all time points: 1.11 ± 0.34% vs 3.12 ± 0.48% control activation; P<.01). Compared to xenoperfused controls, the cardiac index improved significantly in the treated group (6.5 ± 4.2 vs 3.5 ± 4.8 mL/min/g; P=.03, 180 minutes perfusion), while the concentration of lactate dehydrogenase as a maker for cell degradation was reduced in the perfusate (583 ± 187 U/mL vs 2108 ± 1145 U/mL, P=.02). Histological examination revealed less hemorrhage and edema, and immunohistochemistry confirmed less complement fragment deposition than in untreated xenoperfused controls. Conclusions Cp40 efficiently prevents C3 activation of the complement system, resulting in reduced cell damage and preserved function in wild-type porcine hearts xenoperfused ex vivo. We suggest that this compstatin analog, which blocks all main pathways of complement activation, could be a beneficial perioperative treatment in preclinical and in future clinical xenotransplantation.
  • The effect of hypoxia on free and encapsulated adult porcine islets—an in vitro study
    Background Adult porcine islets (APIs) constitute a promising alternative to human islets in treating type 1 diabetes. The intrahepatic site has been used in preclinical primate studies of API xenografts; however, an estimated two-thirds of donor islets are destroyed after intraportal infusion due to a number of factors, including the instant blood-mediated inflammatory reaction (IBMIR), immunosuppressant toxicity, and poor reestablishment of extracellular matrix connections. Intraperitoneal (ip) transplantation of non-vascularized encapsulated islets offers several advantages over intrahepatic transplantation of free islets, including avoidance of IBMIR, immunoprotection, accommodation of a larger graft volume, and reduced risk of hemorrhage. However, there exists evidence that the peritoneal site is hypoxic, which likely impedes islet function. Methods We tested the effect of hypoxia (2%-5% oxygen or pO2: 15.2-38.0 mm Hg) on free and encapsulated APIs over a period of 6 days in culture. Free and encapsulated APIs under normoxia served as controls. Islet viability was evaluated with a viability/cytotoxicity assay using calcein AM and ethidium bromide on days 1, 3, and 6 of culture. Alamar blue assay was used to measure the metabolic activity on days 1 and 6. Insulin in spent medium was assayed by ELISA on days 1 and 6. Results Viability staining indicated that free islet clusters lost their integrity and underwent severe necrosis under hypoxia; encapsulated islets remained intact, even when they began to undergo necrosis. Under hypoxia, the metabolic activity and insulin secretion (normalized to metabolic activity) of both free and encapsulated islets decreased relative to islets cultured under normoxic conditions. Conclusions Hypoxia (2%-5% oxygen or pO2: 15.2-38.0 mm Hg) affects the viability, metabolic activity, and insulin secretion of both free and encapsulated APIs over a six-day culture period. Encapsulation augments islet integrity under hypoxia, but it does not prevent loss of viability, metabolic activity, or insulin secretion.
  • Initial study of α1,3-galactosyltransferase gene-knockout/CD46 pig full-thickness corneal xenografts in rhesus monkeys
    Background To investigate graft survival after full-thickness corneal xenotransplantation from α1,3-galactosyltransferase gene-knockout (GTKO) pigs expressing a human complement regulatory protein (GTKO/CD46 pigs) in rhesus monkeys. Methods Rhesus monkeys (n=10) were transplanted with full-thickness corneas from wild-type (WT; n=4) and GTKO/CD46 (n=4) pigs or from monkeys (n=2). All recipient monkeys received post-transplant subconjunctival injections of betamethasone. Corneal grafts were evaluated by slit-lamp. Histopathology, immunohistochemistry of the grafts, and cytokine concentrations in the aqueous humor were tested 6 months after transplantation. Anti-pig IgM/IgG and anti-galactose-α1,3-galactose (Gal) antibodies were determined by flow cytometry and ELISA, respectively. Results The longest graft survival of WT and GTKO/CD46 xenografts was 157 and 171 days, respectively. There was no significant difference in graft survival between WT and GTKO pig corneas. Anterior synechiae occurred in two recipients of WT and all recipients of GTKO/CD46 grafts. All xenograft recipients developed a retrocorneal membrane, inflammatory cells (CD3+ T lymphocytes) infiltrated the corneal stroma, and in the aqueous humor, IL-6 was increased 6 months after transplantation. Induced antibody responses were documented against Gal and/or non-Gal pig antigens. In contrast, allografts survived >180 days without any rejection, with no increase in cytokines in the aqueous humor, and no elicited serum anti-pig antibodies were detected. Conclusions α1,3-galactosyltransferase gene-knockout/CD46 pig corneas were not associated with prolonged graft survival or a reduced antibody response compared with WT pig corneas. The prevention of the development of anterior synechiae and a retrocorneal membrane after corneal xenotransplantation would appear to be important if prolonged corneal xenograft survival is to be achieved.
  • Production of high-quality islets from goettingen minipigs: Choice of organ preservation solution, donor pool, and optimal cold ischemia time
    Background The transplantation of porcine islets into man might soon become reality for patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus. Therefore, porcine islets of high quality and quantity, and a scalable isolation process with strict quality control will be an unconditional prerequisite to enable the best possible transplantation graft. In this study, we provide a comparative study evaluating islet isolation outcome and in vitro survival based upon donor age, organ preservation solution (OPS), and cold ischemia time (CIT). Methods Goettingen minipigs of younger age (1 year) and retired breeder animals (3.5 years) were studied. Pancreata were harvested according to the standards of human organ retrieval including in situ cold perfusion with either Custodiol®-HTK or Belzer® UW solution. Pancreatic tissue was characterized by quantification of apoptotic cells. Islet isolations were performed according to a modified Ricordi method, and isolation outcome was assessed by determining islet particle numbers (IP), islet equivalents (IEQ), and isolation factor (IF). Isolated islets were cultured for 24 and 48 h for the assessment of in vitro survival. Results Islet viability was significantly higher in Custodiol®-HTK preserved pancreas organs compared to Belzer® UW. Furthermore, organs harvested from retired breeder preserved in Custodiol®-HTK resulted in stable islet isolation yields even after prolonged CIT and showed superior survival rates of islets in vitro compared to the Belzer® UW group. Younger porcine donor organs resulted generally in lower islet yield and survival rates. Conclusions In summary, Custodiol®-HTK solution should be preferred over Belzer® UW solution for the preservation of pancreata from porcine origin. Custodiol®-HTK allows for maintaining islet viability and promotes reproducible isolation outcome and survival even after longer CIT. The usage of retired breeder animals over young animals for islet isolation is highly advisable to yield high quality and quantity.
  • Construction of bioengineered hepatic tissue derived from human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells via aggregation culture in porcine decellularized liver scaffolds
    Background An individualized, tissue-engineered liver suitable for transplanting into a patient with liver disease would be of great benefit to the patient and the healthcare system. The tissue-engineered liver would possess the functions of the original healthy organ. Two fields of study, (i) using decellularized tissue as cell scaffolding, and (ii) stem cell differentiation into functional cells, are coming together to make this concept feasible. The decellularized liver scaffolds (DLS) can interact with cells to promote cell differentiation and signal transduction and three-dimensional (3D) stem cell aggregations can maintain the phenotypes and improve functions of stem cells after differentiation by undergoing cell-cell contact. Although the effects of DLS and stem cell aggregation culture have been intensively studied, few observations about the interaction between the two have been achieved. Methods We established a method that combines the use of decellularized liver scaffolds and aggregation culture of MSCs (3D-DLS) and explored the effects of the two on hepatic differentiation of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (hUC-MSCs) in bioengineered hepatic tissue. Results A higher percentage of albumin-producing cells, higher levels of liver-specific transcripts, higher urea cycle-related transcripts, and lower levels of stem cell-specific transcripts were observed in the 3D-DLS group when compared to that of hUC-MSCs in monolayer culture (2D), aggregation culture (3D), monolayer on DLS culture (2D-DLS). The gene arrays also indicated that 3D-DLS induced the differentiation from the hUC-MSC phenotype to the PHH phenotype. Liver-specific proteins albumin, CK-18, and glycogen storage were highly positive in the 3D-DLS group. Albumin secretion and ammonia conversion to urea were more effective with a higher cell survival rate in the 3D-DLS group for 14 days. Conclusion This DLS and aggregation combination culture system provides a novel method to improve hepatic differentiation, maintain phenotype of hepatocyte-like cells and sustain survival for 14 days in vitro. This is a promising strategy to use to construct bioengineered hepatic tissue.
  • Development of retrocorneal membrane following pig-to-monkey penetrating keratoplasty
    Recent reports of long-term survival after wild-type (WT) pig-to-monkey corneal xenotransplantation are encouraging. We experienced the rapid development of retrocorneal membranes, a rare complication after corneal allotransplantation (although seen in infants and young children). The original specific aim of the study was to determine the factors associated with successful (young) pig corneal transplantation in monkeys. However, when it was obvious that retrocorneal membranes rapidly developed, our aims became to determine the factors involved in its development after both WT and Genetically engineered (GE ) pig corneal xenotransplantation and to investigate the characteristics of the retrocorneal membrane. Rhesus monkeys were recipients of penetrating keratoplasty using WT and GE pigs (n=2, respectively, 1-3 months old). Local/systemic steroids were administered for 3 months. Grafts were evaluated by slit lamp for corneal transparency, edema, and neovascularization. Hematoxylin and eosin, Masson trichrome staining, and immunohistochemical analysis were performed. Gal staining was also carried out to distinguish the origin of the membrane. All penetrating keratoplasty recipients developed fibrous retrocorneal membranes in the early post-transplantation period, regardless of whether the graft was from a WT or GE pig. There were no features of rejection, with no cell infiltrate in the graft or anterior chamber during the three-month follow-up. There was no difference in the clinical course between the two groups (WT or GE corneas). Immunohistochemistry indicated that the retrocorneal membranes were CK negative, α-SMA positive, and vimentin positive, suggesting that they were of fibrous (keratocytic) origin. Also, the membrane was Gal positive, suggesting that it is derived from pig cornea. Following pig-to-monkey corneal xenotransplantation, we report that retrocorneal membranes are derived from donor pig keratocytes. Prevention of retrocorneal membranes will be necessary to achieve successful corneal xenotransplantation.
  • Safe use of anti-CD154 monoclonal antibody in pig islet xenotransplantation in monkeys
    Anti-CD154mAb is a powerful co-stimulation blockade agent that is efficacious in preventing rejection, even in xenogeneic settings. It has been used in the majority of successful long-term pig-to-non-human primate islet transplantation models. However, its clinical use was halted as a result of thromboembolic complications that were also observed in preclinical and clinical organ transplantation models. An anti-CD154mAb was administered to 14 streptozotocin-induced diabetic cynomolgus monkey recipients of porcine islets, some of which received the agent for many months. Monkeys were monitored for complications, and blood monitoring was carried out frequently. After euthanasia, multiple biopsies of all organs were examined for histological features of thromboembolism. Anti-CD154mAb prevented rejection of genetically engineered pig islets in all monkeys. No significant complications were attributable specifically to anti-CD154mAb. There was no evidence of thromboembolism in multiple histological sections from all major organs, including the brain. Our data suggest that in diabetic monkeys with pig islet grafts, anti-CD154mAb would appear to be an effective and safe therapy, and is not associated with thromboembolic complications.
  • Klotho attenuated antibody-mediated porcine endothelial cell activation and injury
    Long-term success in pig-to-primate xenotransplantation is currently hampered by acute vascular rejection (AVR), characterized by endothelial cell (EC) activation and injury. Klotho has anti-apoptotic, anti-inflammatory effects on EC and protects EC against reactive oxygen species, rendering klotho a promising molecule to control AVR. In this study, porcine ECs were pre-incubated with klotho and then exposed to xenoreactive antibodies and complement. Real-time PCR revealed that klotho suppressed antibody-induced pro-inflammatory gene expression of VCAM-1 and IL-1α. NF-κB activation, IκBα phosphorylation, was also attenuated by klotho administration. Furthermore, klotho induced in porcine EC resistance against complement-dependent cytotoxicity. Accompanying this change, the binding of IgG and IgM xenoreactive antibodies to porcine EC was decreased and the expression of anti-inflammatory gene HO-1 was upregulated. These findings indicated that klotho protein protected porcine EC from activation and injury caused by binding of xenoreactive antibodies and was a promising candidate molecule in a multitransgenic pig strategy for xenotransplantation.
  • Immunogenicity of hepatic differentiated human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells promoted by porcine decellularized liver scaffolds
    Cell-based approaches, including hepatocyte transplantation and tissue-engineered livers, offer promising alternatives and are expected to help support patients with liver diseases until liver transplantation or recovery via regeneration of the damaged liver. However, the success of cell therapies remains dependent on how well the cells are accepted after transplantation and is directly related to their degree of immunogenicity. In this study, hepatic differentiation of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (hUC-MSCs) was induced in the traditional monolayer (2D) culture and newly established three-dimensional (3D) aggregation culture with the porcine decellularized liver scaffold (DLS) system (3D-DLS). We investigated the immunogenicity of these hepatocyte-like cells in vitro. We found that monolayer hepatic differentiated hUC-MSCs expressed higher levels of human leukocyte antigen-DR (HLA-DR) (P<.05) and lost the ability to inhibit lymphocyte proliferation (P<.05), in association with a lower level of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) (P<.05) and a higher level of interferon-γ (IFN-γ) (P<.05) secretion, compared to undifferentiated hUC-MSCs. The hepatocyte-like cells differentiated in the 3D-DLS system did not show an elevation of MHC-II (P>.05), or cause obvious lymphocytes proliferation, and demonstrated more PGE2 (P<.05) and less IFN-γ (P<.05) secretion. Hepatocyte-like cells in the 3D-DLS system presented a lower immunogenic phenotype than the 2D culture in vitro. Hepatocyte-like cells in 3D-DLS system also performed a higher immunosuppressive capacity than 2D culture.
  • Xenotransplantation literature update, November/December 2016


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Actualizada el: 08-Abr-2013