Recombinant human antithrombin prevents xenogenic activation of hemostasis in a model of pig-to-human kidney transplantation

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Xenogenic activation of hemostasis (XAH) represents a major hurdle for the transplantation of discordant animal organs into humans as it results in thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA). We have previously shown that recombinant human-activated protein C (rhAPC) mitigates XAH and TMA in an ex vivo model of pig-to-human kidney transplantation. However, the use of rhAPC may not be feasible in a perioperative setting due to possible bleeding complications.


Here, we explored the effects of another natural inhibitor of coagulation, human recombinant antithrombin (rhAT), in comparison with rhAPC. Unmodified porcine kidneys (n = 25) were perfused ex vivo with porcine blood, human blood, or human blood supplemented with rhAPC or rhAT. Surrogate parameters of organ survival, markers of XAH (D- Dimer, thrombin-antithrombin complex [TAT], fibrinogen, antithrombin activity, plasminogen), endothelial cell and platelet activation (E-selectin, P-selectin), platelet function tests and histological signs of TMA were evaluated.


Perfusion was feasible for > 240 min in all experiments with autologous porcine blood, but limited to 126 ± 78 min with human blood due to increased vascular resistance. Addition of rhAT protected from TMA and allowed for perfusion times > 240 min. In addition, there were less signs of XAH with reduced release of P-selectin and overexpression of E-selectin, whereas the progressive loss of platelet function, observed during discordant perfusion, was prevented. The effect of rhAT was dose-dependent with maximum protection obtained at 3 IU/ml.


In conclusion, in this ex vivo model of discordant xenotransplantation, rhAT reduced XAH and prevented TMA in doses that appear feasible for use in clinical or preclinical transplantation settings.

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