Healing of long-term frozen orthotopic bone allografts is not affected by MHC differences between donor and recipient

Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2011 May;469(5):1479-86. doi: 10.1007/s11999-011-1796-z. Epub 2011 Feb 3.


Background: The use of bone grafting in orthopaedic surgery has increased dramatically in recent years. However, the degree to which immune responses are important for the survival of the allograft is not fully understood. In particular it remains unclear whether differences in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) influence incorporation of bone allografts and their subsequent biologic performance.

Questions/purposes: Therefore, we asked whether isolated mismatch for MHC antigens of deep frozen bone allografts in the long-term causes (1) immune reactions, and whether these reactions have any effect on (2) morphologic features of the graft, (3) radiographic graft healing, and (4) graft strength.

Methods: We used an established orthotopic tibial segment transplantation technique that allows determination of mechanical strength, histologic evaluation, and immune responses. Tibial segments that had been deep-frozen at -80°C for 1 year were transplanted into 24 PVG (RT1 (c)) rats from either 12 syngeneic donors or 12 MHC congenic donors PVG.1U (RT1 (u)). We determined immune responses using an indirect Coombs reaction and determined graft healing radiographically and mechanically after 6 months.

Results: We detected no alloantibody production to graft MHC-I antigens, and found no differences between syngeneic and MHC mismatched grafts in terms of remodeling with host bone, graft healing, and mechanical strength.

Conclusions: Mismatches for MHC antigens do not seem to play a decisive role in healing of long-term, deep-frozen bone allografts.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Bone Transplantation*
  • Cryopreservation*
  • Graft Survival*
  • Histocompatibility Testing
  • Isoantibodies / blood
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex / immunology*
  • Osseointegration
  • Radiography
  • Rats
  • Tibia / diagnostic imaging
  • Tibia / immunology
  • Tibia / pathology
  • Tibia / transplantation*
  • Time Factors
  • Transplantation Tolerance*
  • Transplantation, Homologous
  • Transplantation, Isogeneic
  • Wound Healing*


  • Isoantibodies