Postnatal xenogeneic B-cell tolerance in swine followingin uterointraportal antigen exposure

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Abstract

Background:

The objective of this study was to investigate the humoral immune response to xenogeneic antigens administered during the fetal state utilizing a baboon-to-pig model.

Methods:

Nine fetuses from an alpha-1,3-galactosyltransferase gene knockout (GalT-KO) MGH-miniature swine sow underwent transuterine ultrasound-guided intraportal injection of T-cell depleted baboon bone marrow (B-BM) at mid-gestation. Two juvenile GalT-KO swine undergoing direct B-BM intraportal injection were used as controls.

Results:

Postnatal humoral tolerance was induced in the long-term surviving piglets as demonstrated by the absence of any antibody response to baboon donor cells. In addition, a second intraportal B-BM administration at 2.5 months post-birth led to no antibody formation despite re-exposure to xenogeneic antigens. This B-cell unresponsiveness was abrogated only when the animal was exposed subcutaneously to third-party xenogeneic and allogeneic antigens, suggesting that the previously achieved humoral non-responsiveness was donor specific. In comparison, the two juvenile GalT-KO control swine demonstrated increasing anti-baboon IgM and IgG levels following intraportal injection.

Conclusions:

In summary, xenogeneic B-cell tolerance was induced through in utero intraportal exposure to donor cells and this tolerance persisted following postnatal rechallenge with donor B-BM, but was lost on exposure to third-party antigen, possibly as a result of cross-reactive antibody formation.

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