Anti-GAL IgG antibodies in sera of newborn humans and baboons and its significance in pig xenotransplantation

Academic Article


  • We have previously demonstrated that hyperacute rejection does not occur in a pig-to-newborn baboon heart transplant model, presumably because of low levels of cytotoxic antipig antibodies present in the serum of newborn baboons. Cytotoxic antipig antibodies are primarily directed to α-1, 3- galactosyl (α Gal) residues on endothelial cell surface structures Twenty- one full-term humans and 5 full-term baboons were tested for complement mediated lysis (CML) of pig kidney (PK-15) cells and anti-α Gal activity with an ELISA using BSA-conjugated α Gal residues as target. To evaluate the significance of the anti-α Gal titers in vivo 5 newborn baboons underwent heterotopic pig cardiac xenotransplantation. Six of 21 human samples and 1 of 5 baboon samples demonstrated significant cytotoxicity to PK-15 cells. Twelve of 21 newborn humans had anti-α Gal IgG antibodies at titers of 1:80 or greater. None of the samples had anti-α Gal IgM. In newborn baboons, 1 of 5 sera had anti-α Gal IgG antibodies at titers greater than 1:80 and none of these samples had anti-α Gal IgM. Xenografts survived for an average of 3.6 days, even in the baboon with high anti-α Gal IgG titers. Analysis of the explanted grafts showed minimal evidence of complement-mediated hyperacute rejection (HAR), but prominent mononuclear cell infiltrates. In serum tested posttransplant there was an induced anti-α Gal response with cytotoxicity against PK-15 cells. These results show that anti-α Gal IgM is absent in newborn human and baboon sera, allowing pig grafts to avoid HAR. However, the presence of anti-α Gal IgG may be associated with mononuclear cell infiltration of the xenograft and its subsequent rejection.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Transplantation  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Minanov OP; Itescu S; Neethling FA; Morgenthau AS; Kwiatkowski P; Cooper DKC; Michler RE
  • Start Page

  • 182
  • End Page

  • 186
  • Volume

  • 63
  • Issue

  • 2