Biomaterials-based immunomodulation enhances survival of murine vascularized composite allografts

Biomater Sci. 2023 May 30;11(11):4022-4031. doi: 10.1039/d2bm01845d.


Vascularized composite allotransplantation (VCA) is a restorative option for patients suffering from severe tissue defects not amenable to conventional reconstruction. However, the toxicities associated with life-long multidrug immunosuppression to enable allograft survival and induce immune tolerance largely limit the broader application of VCA. Here, we investigate the potential of targeted immunomodulation using CTLA4-Ig combined with a biological porcine-derived extracellular matrix (ECM) scaffold that elicits a pro-regenerative Th2 response to promote allograft survival and regulate the inflammatory microenvironment in a stringent mouse orthotopic hind limb transplantation model (BALB/c to C57BL/6). The median allograft survival time (MST) increased significantly from 15.0 to 24.5 days (P = 0.0037; Mantel-Cox test) after adding ECM to the CTLA4-Ig regimen. Characterization of the immune infiltration shows a pro-regenerative phenotype prevails over those associated with inflammation and rejection including macrophages (F4/80hi+CD206hi+MHCIIlow), eosinophils (F4/80lowSiglec-F+), and T helper 2 (Th2) T cells (CD4+IL-4+). This was accompanied by an increased expression of genes associated with a Type 2 polarized immune state such as Il4, Ccl24, Arg1 and Ym1 within the graft. Furthermore, when ECM was applied along with a clinically relevant combination of CTLA4-Ig and Rapamycin, allograft survival was prolonged from 33.0 to 72.5 days (P = 0.0067; Mantel-Cox test). These studies implicate the clinical exploration of combined regimens involving local application of pro-regenerative, immunomodulatory biomaterials in surgical wound sites with targeted co-stimulatory blockade to reduce adverse effects of immunosuppression and enhance graft survival in VCA.

MeSH terms

  • Abatacept
  • Animals
  • Composite Tissue Allografts*
  • Immunomodulation
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Swine
  • Transplantation, Homologous


  • Abatacept