Initial investigation of the potential of modified porcine erythrocytes for transfusion in primates

Academic Article


  • There is a shortage of human blood for transfusion. The possibility of using α-galactosidase-treated pig red blood cells (pRBCs) for transfusion into humans has been investigated. pRBCs were treated in vitro with α-galactosidase. In vitro binding of antibodies (Abs) in baboon or human sera to untreated/treated pRBCs was assessed by flow cytometry and serum cytotoxicity. In vivo clearance rates of (1) autologous baboon red blood cells (RBCs), (2) unmodified pRBCs, and (3) α-galactosidase-treated pRBCs were measured after transfusion into baboons receiving either no treatment or depletion of complement ± depletion of anti-Galα1-3Gal (Gal) Ab or of macrophage phagocytes. In vitro binding of baboon or human Abs to treated pRBCs was absent or minimal compared with untreated pRBCs, and serum cytotoxicity was completely inhibited. In vivo autologous baboon RBCs survived for > 16 days and unmodified pRBCs for < 15 min in an untreated baboon. Treated pRBCs survived for 2 h in an untreated baboon, for 24 h in a complement-depleted baboon, and for 72 h when the baboon was depleted of both complement and anti-Gal Ab, or of complement and macrophage phagocytes. All baboons, however, became sensitized to Gal antigens. Failure to prolong the in vivo survival of treated pRBCs could be due to inadequate removal of Gal epitopes because sensitization to Gal developed, or could imply other, as yet unidentified, causes for RBC destruction. To fully assess the potential of pRBC transfusion in humans, more complete α-galactosidase treatment of pRBCs will be required.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Eckermann JM; Buhler LH; Zhu A; Dor FJMF; Awwad M; Cooper DKC
  • Start Page

  • 18
  • End Page

  • 26
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 1