One-year monkey heart xenograft survival in cyclosporine-treated baboons. Suppression of the xenoantibody response with total-lymphoid irradiation

Transplantation. 1992 Dec;54(6):949-55. doi: 10.1097/00007890-199212000-00001.


The shortage of cadaveric human organs for transplantation could be alleviated by the use of xenografts. Long-term (> one-year) survival of xenografts in humans or experimental animals has not been achieved with previous immunosuppressive protocols. Poor results in xenotransplantation compared with allotransplantation have been attributed to a more potent antibody response rather than to cell-mediated responses. To investigate these issues a concordant heterotopic cardiac xenograft model was developed in conjunction with cyclosporine and/or total-lymphoid irradiation. Concordant models permit examination of xenoantigen induced antibody and cell-mediated responses since preformed humoral factors (in discordant models) do not cause hyperacute rejection. Four groups of baboon recipients received cervical heart transplants from cynomolgous monkeys. Group I (n = 2), untreated, mean survival (MS) = 6 days; group II (n = 5), CsA and methylprednisolone, MS = 25 days; group III (n = 3), preoperative TLI, MS = 29 days; group IV (n = 6), preoperative TLI and CsA+MP, MS = 255 days (> 77, > 108, > 142, 184, > 480, 540 days). Heart xenografts of CsA-MP-treated recipients appear to be destroyed predominantly by antibody (IgM)-mediated processes whereas cell-mediated rejection is likely the major reaction in TLI-treated recipients. CsA-MP-treated recipients had early immunohistochemical evidence of antibody and complement-mediated rejection (deposition of IgM and complement but not IgG on heart xenografts). In contrast IgM and complement deposits were not detected on heart xenografts in TLI- and TLI-CsA-treated recipients. IgG xenoantibodies were only detected on the two rejected heart grafts of TLI-CsA-treated recipients. CsA-MP-treated recipients rapidly developed high xenoantibody titers (1:256 to 1:512) that immediately preceded rejection. In contrast, TLI-treated animals developed lower levels of xenoantibody (< or = 1:8) and TLI-CsA-treated recipients had no detectable xenoantibody during the initial three months after transplantation (and titers no greater than 1:8 thereafter.) The lack of xenoantibody was likely not due to a generalized inhibitory effect of the immunosuppressants on B cell function since all classes of serum immunoglobulins were in the normal range. Intragraft cytolytic lymphocyte activity was detected in rejecting TLI- and TLI-CsA-treated recipients but could not be detected in xenografts of CsA-MP-treated recipients. One explanation for these data is that TLI (either directly or indirectly) induces a state of specific B cell unresponsiveness to monkey xenoantigens, thereby preventing IgM mediated rejection in the third week after transplantation.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation / radiation effects*
  • Cyclosporine / therapeutic use*
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Graft Survival
  • Heart Transplantation / immunology*
  • Immune Tolerance / drug effects*
  • Immune Tolerance / radiation effects
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lymphocyte Culture Test, Mixed
  • Lymphoid Tissue / radiation effects*
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Myocardium / chemistry
  • Papio
  • Time Factors
  • Transplantation, Heterologous / immunology*
  • Whole-Body Irradiation


  • Cyclosporine