Persistence of Indirect but Not Direct T Cell Xenoresponses in Baboon Recipients of Pig Cell and Organ Transplants

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We investigated the contributions of direct and indirect T cell antigen recognition pathways to the immune response to porcine antigens in naïve baboons and baboon recipients of pig xenografts. In naïve baboons, in vitro culture of peripheral blood T cells with intact pig cells (direct xenorecognition pathway) or pig cell sonicates and baboon antigen-presenting cells (indirect xenorecognition pathway) induced the activation and expansion of xenoreactive T cells producing proinflammatory cytokines, interleukin-2 and interferon-γ. Primary indirect xenoresponses were mediated by preexisting memory T cells, whose presence is not typically observed in primary alloresponses. Next, baboons were conditioned with a nonmyeloablative regimen before short-term immunosuppression and transplantation of xenogeneic peripheral blood progenitor cells and a kidney, heart, or pancreatic islets from a miniature swine. All transplants were rejected acutely within 30 days after their placement. Posttransplantation, we observed an inhibition of the direct xenoresponse but a significant expansion of indirectly activated proinflammatory T cells. These results suggest that additional treatment to suppress indirect T cell immunity in primates may be required to achieve tolerance of pig xenografts through hematopoietic chimerism.

Mixed hematopoietic chimerism combined with costimulation blockade and conventional immunosuppression inhibits direct but not indirect xenoresponses by T cells. See also the article on page 1715 by Navarro-Alvarez et al.

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