Pig-to-baboon liver xenoperfusion utilizing GalTKO.hCD46 pigs and glycoprotein Ib blockade

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Abstract

Background:

Although transplantation of genetically modified porcine livers into baboons has yielded recipient survival for up to 7 days, survival is limited by profound thrombocytopenia, which becomes manifest almost immediately after revascularization, and by subsequent coagulopathy. Porcine von Willebrand's factor (VWF), a glycoprotein that adheres to activated platelets to initiate thrombus formation, has been shown to constitutively activate human platelets via their glycoprotein Ib (GPIb) receptors. Here, we report our pig-to-primate liver xenoperfusion model and evaluate whether targeting the GPIb-VWF axis prevents platelet sequestration.

Methods:

Twelve baboons underwent cross-circulation with the following extracorporeal livers: one allogeneic control with a baboon liver, 4 xenogeneic controls with a GalTKO.hCD46 pig liver, 3 GalTKO.hCD46 pig livers in recipients treated with αGPIb antibody during perfusion, and 4 GalTKO.hCD46 pig livers pre-treated with D-arginine vasopressin (DDAVP) in recipients treated with αGPIb antibody during perfusion.

Results:

All perfused livers appeared grossly and macroscopically normal and produced bile. Xenograft liver perfusion experiments treated with αGPIb antibody may show less platelet sequestration during the initial 2 h of perfusion. Portal venous resistance remained constant in all perfusion experiments. Platelet activation studies demonstrated platelet activation in all xenoperfusions, but not in the allogeneic perfusion.

Conclusion:

These observations suggest that primate platelet sequestration by porcine liver and the associated thrombocytopenia are multifactorial and perhaps partially mediated by a constitutive interaction between porcine VWF and the primate GPIb receptor. Control of platelet sequestration and consumptive coagulopathy in liver xenotransplantation will likely require a multifaceted approach in our clinically relevant perfusion model.

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