Delayed xenograft rejection of pig-to-baboon cardiac transplants after cobra venom factor therapy

Academic Article


  • Background. This study sought to (i) investigate the efficacy of cobra venom factor (CVF) in preventing hyperacute rejection (HAR) after pig-to- baboon heart transplantation, (ii) examine the effect of additional splenectomy (Spx) and pharmacologic immunosuppression (IS), and (iii) study delayed graft rejection when HAR is avoided by complement depletion. Methods. Eleven recipient baboons received heterotopic pig heart transplants. Three received either no therapy or IS (cyclosporine + methylprednisolone ± cyclophosphamide ± methotrexate) at clinically well-tolerated doses, with graft survival for only 40, 32, and 15 min. respectively. Two received CVF±Spx, which extended survival to 5 and 6 days, respectively. Six underwent Spx + CVF therapy + IS; graft survival was 3 hr (technical complication), 6 days (death from sepsis), 10, 12, and 22 days (vascular rejection), and <25 days (euthanized for viral pneumonia with a functioning graft that showed histopathologic features of vascular rejection). Results. Dense deposition of IgM and, to a lesser extent, IgG and IgA were seen on the endothelial cells within 1 hr of transplantation, but only trace levels of complement deposition were present in CVF-treated recipients. Within approximately 5-12 days, cardiac xenografts showed progressive infiltration by mononuclear cells, consisting primarily of activated macrophages producing tumor necrosis factor-α and small numbers of natural killer cells; T and B cells were absent. Conclusions. We conclude that (i) CVF prevents HAR, (ii) the addition of Spx + IS delays rejection, but (iii) the early deposition of antibody leads to progressive graft injury, resulting in (iv) delayed vascular rejection. Our findings indicate that the features of delayed xenograft rejection described in small animal models also occur in the pig- to-baboon model, and that rejection may occur in a complement-independent manner from the effects of antibody and/or host macrophages.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Transplantation  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kobayashi T; Taniguchi S; Neethling FA; Rose AG; Hancock WW; Ye Y; Nlekrasz M; Kosanke S; Wright LJ; White DJG
  • Start Page

  • 1255
  • End Page

  • 1261
  • Volume

  • 64
  • Issue

  • 9