Modulation of platelet aggregation in baboons: Implications for mixed chimerism in xenotransplantation. I. The roles of individual components of a transplantation conditioning regimen and of pig peripheral blood progenitor cells

Academic Article


  • Background. The induction of tolerance to pig antigens in primates may facilitate the development of successful clinical xenotransplantation protocols. The infusion of mobilized porcine peripheral blood leukocytes (PBPCs, comprised of approximately 2% peripheral blood progenitor cells) into splenectomized preconditioned baboons, intended to induce mixed hematopoietic cell chimerism, however, results in a severe thrombotic microangiopathy (TM) that includes pronounced thrombocytopenia. Because the mechanisms responsible for this phenomenon are unclear, we have explored the effects of individual components of the conditioning regimen, of therapeutic adjuncts, and of PBPCs on platelet aggregation. Methods. Groups of splenectomized baboons (n = at least 2 in each group) were treated with single components of the conditioning regimen-whole body irradiation (WBI), antithymocyte globulin (ATG), extracorporeal immunoadsorption (EI), mycophenolate mofetil (MMF), anti-CD40L monoclonal antibody (mAb), cobra venom factor (CVF), pig hematopoietic growth factors (interleukin-3 (pIL3) and stem cell factor (pSCF))-or with potential adjuncts, prostacyclin (PGI2), heparin, methylprednisolone, and eptifibatide (a GPIIb/IIIa antagonist). Blood samples were collected and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) was prepared. Using light transmission aggregometry, the extent of aggregation induced by platelet agonists (thrombin, adenosine diphosphate (ADP), collagen, ristocetin, and arachidonic acid) was determined in vitro. PRP was also prepared from untreated baboons, PBPCs were added, and platelet aggregation was measured in the absence of exogenous platelet agonists. Results. WBI, ATG, MMF, anti-CD40L mAb, CVF, pIL3, pSCF, and PGI2 had no effect on purified baboon platelet aggregation profiles in vitro. Eptifibatide markedly inhibited platelet aggregation induced by all standard agonists. EI or heparin inhibited thrombin-induced platelet aggregation, and methylprednisolone inhibited ADP-induced aggregation to some extent. In vitro addition of PBPCs to PRP stimulated platelet aggregation in the absence of any agonists. Prior treatment of baboons with eptifibatide, however, inhibited this effect by 70% to 80%. Conclusions. Aggregation of baboon platelets and TM is directly induced by PBPCs, but not by individual components of the conditioning regimen. GPIIb/IIIa antagonists, such as eptifibatide, interfere directly with xenogeneic PBPC-platelet interactions and may further ameliorate TM in the pig-to-primate model.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Transplantation  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Appel JZ; Alwayn IPJ; Buhler L; DeAngelis HA; Robson SC; Cooper DKC
  • Start Page

  • 1299
  • End Page

  • 1305
  • Volume

  • 72
  • Issue

  • 7