Identical Twin Small-bowel Transplantation Without Maintenance Immunosuppression: A 5-year Follow-up and Literature Review

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Abstract

Background

The availability of an identical twin donor that allows avoidance of complications related to graft rejection and immunosuppression represents an ideal treatment option for irreversible intestinal failure.

Methods and Results

We described a 45-year-old woman who lost most of her small bowel due to acute superior mesenteric thrombosis received a living-related small bowel transplant from her identical-twin sister. Monozygosity was established by buccal smear DNA amplification using short tandem repeat. A pretransplant panel-reactive antibody was 47.5% with several HLA antibodies in higher titers. The patient received a brief course of steroids without any additional immunosuppressive agents after transplantation. Her postoperative course was uneventful without an episode of rejection or infection. The preformed HLA antibodies steadily declined over time after transplantation. At a 5-year follow-up, the patient achieved full enteral autonomy from parenteral nutrition with a regular lifestyle.

Conclusions

Identical-twin intestinal transplantation appears to provide the best outcomes by avoiding complications related to rejection and immunosuppression. We provide evidence that it may confer greater long-term immunological advantages even in a high-immunologic risk recipient.

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