Cardiac xenografts between primate species provide evidence for the importance of the alpha-galactosyl determinant in hyperacute rejection.
Transplants performed between phylogenetically disparate species are subject to hyperacute rejection initiated by binding of xenoreactive natural Abs to endothelium in the donor organ. Binding of these Abs activates complement, leading to tissue injury and destruction of the graft. Human xenoreactive natural Abs recognize Gal alpha 1-3Gal beta 1-4GlcNAc (galactose alpha 1-3galactose beta 1-4-N-acetylglucosame); however, the relative importance of this Ag in graft rejection has not been proved. The present study was conducted to test the potential importance of alpha-galactosyl (alpha-Gal) determinants in the pathogenesis of hyperacute rejection. To this end, hearts (n = 3) from New World monkeys (Saimiri scureus, squirrel monkey), which can synthesize Gal alpha 1-3Gal, were transplanted heterotopically into Old World monkeys (Papio species, baboon), which do not synthesize Gal alpha 1-3Gal determinants and which have circulating anti-alpha Gal Abs. The xenografts were rejected in 51 to 56 min (mean +/- SD = 53.3 +/- 2.5), results similar to those observed in porcine grafts transplanted into baboons. Histologic analysis of the hearts revealed thrombosis and intraparenchymal hemorrhage and immune deposits consisting of IgM, Clq, C3, C4, C5b, and the membrane attack complex, but not properdin or factor B of the recipient deposited on graft endothelium. Sera obtained from baboons after perfusion of squirrel monkey kidneys revealed depletion of alpha-Gal-specific Abs and anti-pig endothelial cell Abs. These findings provide strong evidence that the Abs that accumulate in New World monkey organs during perfusion with baboon blood are the same Abs that would accumulate in a porcine organ transplanted into a primate and suggest that hyperacute rejection is not necessarily a reflection of phylogenetic distance but that the expression of terminal alpha-Gal residues provides an adequate target to initiate that process.
Collins, BH; Cotterell, AH; McCurry, KR; Alvarado, CG; Magee, JC; Parker, W; Platt, JL
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