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.
Keywords: complement; compstatin; ex vivo; heart; xenotransplantation.
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.