Recent investigations into pig antigen and anti-pig antibody expression

Academic Article


  • © 2015 IJS Publishing Group Limited. Genetic engineering of donor pigs to eliminate expression of the dominant xenogeneic antigen galactose α1,3 galactose (Gal) has created a sea change in the immunobiology of xenograft rejection. Antibody mediated xenograft rejection of GGTA-1 α-galactosyltransferase (GTKO) deficient organs is now directed to a combination of non-Gal pig protein and carbohydrate antigens. Glycan analysis of GTKO tissues identified no new neo-antigens but detected high levels of N-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc) modified glycoproteins and glycolipids. Humans produce anti-Neu5Gc antibody and in very limited clinical studies sometimes show an induced anti-Neu5Gc antibody response after challenge with pig tissue. The pathogenicity of anti-Neu5Gc antibody in xenotransplantation is not clear however as non-human transplant models, critical for modelling anti-Gal immunity, do not produce anti-Neu5Gc antibody. Antibody induced after xenotransplantation in non-human primates is directed to an array of pig endothelial cells proteins and to a glycan produced by the pig B4GALNT2 gene. We anticipate that immune suppression will significantly affect the T-cell dependent and independent specificity of an induced antibody response and that donor pigs deficient in synthesis of multiple xenogeneic glycans will be important to future studies.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Byrne GW; McGregor CGA; Breimer ME
  • Start Page

  • 223
  • End Page

  • 228
  • Volume

  • 23