SPECIFIC INTRAVENOUS CARBOHYDRATE THERAPY A NEW CONCEPT IN INHIBITING ANTIBODY-MEDIATED REJECTION—EXPERIENCE WITH ABO-INCOMPATIBLE CARDIAC ALLOGRAFTING IN THE BABOON

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Abstract

Heterotopic allografting of ABO-incompatible donor hearts in recipient baboons “hyperimmunized” against the incompatible A or B antigen (n=3) was followed by hyperacute antibody-mediated vascular rejection within a mean of 19 min. The A and B epitopes against which these antibodies are directed are carbohydrates that can be synthesized. The continuous i.v. infusion of the specific synthetic A or B trisaccharide, beginning immediately pre-transplant and continued posttransplant for several days, prolonged allograft survival to a mean of 8 days (n=2) and prevented antibody-mediated rejection, graft failure resulting from acute cellular rejection. The addition of triple pharmacologic immunosuppressive therapy (n=4) resulted in prolongation of graft survival to a mean of >28 days, with one heart still beating at 52 days; all grafts showed features of cellular rejection. “Accommodation” would appear to have developed in several baboons as graft function continued for periods of up to 39 days after discontinuation of carbohydrate therapy. Specific i.v. carbohydrate therapy should allow organ allografting to be performed across the ABO blood group barrier in humans. Furthermore, if the carbohydrate epitopes on the organs of discordant animals (e.g., the pig) against which human xenoreactive antibodies are directed can be confirmed, then this form of therapy might allow successful discordant organ xenotransplantation in man.

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