Interaction of the Natural anti-Gal Antibody With Alpha-Galactosyl Epitopes: A Major Obstacle for Xenotransplantation in Humans

Immunol Today. 1993 Oct;14(10):480-2. doi: 10.1016/0167-5699(93)90261-i.


Cells of nonprimate mammals express an abundance of the carbohydrate structure Gal alpha 1-3 Gal beta 1-4 GlcNac-R (termed the alpha-galactosyl epitope). The natural anti-Gal antibody, which interacts specifically with alpha-galactosyl epitopes, is present in high concentrations in all humans. Here, Uri Galili argues that the interaction between anti-Gal in the serum and alpha-galactosyl epitopes on cells of nonprimate grafts may act as an immunological barrier which prevents xenotransplantation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody-Dependent Cell Cytotoxicity
  • Antigen-Antibody Reactions
  • Carbohydrate Sequence
  • Epitopes / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Transplantation, Heterologous / immunology*
  • Trisaccharides / chemistry
  • Trisaccharides / immunology*


  • Epitopes
  • Trisaccharides
  • alpha-galactosyl epitope