Immunosuppressant-free allotransplantation of the trachea: The antigenicity of tracheal grafts can be reduced by removing the epithelium and mixed glands from the graft by detergent treatment

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ObjectiveTo develop a method for eliminating the epithelium and mixed glands from tracheal grafts by detergent treatment and evaluate these grafts for immunosuppressant-free allotransplantation in dogs.MethodsFresh canine tracheal grafts were treated with a detergent (1% Triton X-100 t-octylphenoxypolyethoxyethanol; T-9284; Sigma Chemical Co, St Louis, Mo) at 4°C for 48 hours. The grafts were then used for intrathoracic 5-ring tracheal replacement in other dogs without immunosuppressant treatment (n = 6, detergent treatment group). In the control group (n = 6) fresh untreated canine tracheal segments were implanted as allografts. All the implanted grafts were covered with an omental pedicle.ResultsIn the detergent treatment group the chondrocytes in the graft had a similar appearance to those in the fresh trachea, indicating that the chondrocytes remained viable after the detergent treatment. In 5 of the 6 grafts, the epithelium and mixed glands had been removed completely. After transplantation, these 5 grafts were incorporated by the host trachea without stenosis. In the remaining treated tracheal graft, in which removal of the epithelium was incomplete, moderate stenosis was observed at the fourth week after implantation, although this was not progressive. In the control group, granulation tissue of the graft and significant stenosis were observed after transplantation.ConclusionThe antigenicity of tracheal grafts can be greatly reduced by removing the epithelium and mixed glands by the use of detergent treatment. The epithelium and mixed glands of the graft appear to be the determining elements involved in rejection after tracheal allotransplantation. (J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2000;120:108-14)

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