Cardiac and Pulmonary Histopathology in Baboons Following Genetically-Engineered Pig Orthotopic Heart Transplantation

Academic Article


  • Background: Although improving, survival after pig orthotopic heart transplantation (OHTx) in baboons has been mixed and largely poor. The causes for the high incidence of early failure remain uncertain. Material/Methods: We have carried out pig OHTx in 4 baboons. Two died or were euthanized within hours, and 2 survived for 3 and 8 months, respectively. There was evidence of a significant ‘cytokine storm’ in the immediate post-OHTx period with the elevations in IL-6 correlating closely with the final outcome. Results: All 4 baboons demonstrated features suggestive of respiratory dysfunction, including increased airway resis-tance, hypoxia, and tachypnea. Histopathological observations of pulmonary infiltration by neutrophils and, notably, eosinophils within vessels and in the perivascular and peribronchiolar space, with minimal cardiac pa-thology, suggested a role for early lung acute inflammation. In one, features suggestive of transfusion-related acute lung injury were present. The 2 longer-term survivors died of (i) a cardiac dysrhythmia with cellular infiltration around the conducting tissue (at 3 months), and (ii) mixed cellular and antibody-mediated rejection (at 8 months). Conclusions: These initial findings indicate a potential role of acute lung injury early after OHTx. If this response can be prevented, increased survival may result, providing an opportunity to evaluate the factors affecting long-term survival.
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    Author List

  • Litovsky SH; Foote JB; Jagdale A; Walcott G; Iwase H; Bikhet MH; Yamamoto T; Hansen-Estruch C; Ezzelarab MB; Ayares D
  • Volume

  • 27