Early barriers to neonatal porcine islet engraftment in a dual transplant model

K. P. Samy, R. P. Davis, Q. Gao, B. M. Martin, M. Song, J. Cano, A. B. Farris, A. McDonald, E. K. Gall, C. R. Dove, F. V. Leopardi, T. How, K. D. Williams, G. R. Devi, B. H. Collins, A. D. Kirk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Porcine islet xenografts have the potential to provide an inexhaustible source of islets for β cell replacement. Proof-of-concept has been established in nonhuman primates. However, significant barriers to xenoislet transplantation remain, including the poorly understood instant blood-mediated inflammatory reaction and a thorough understanding of early xeno-specific immune responses. A paucity of data exist comparing xeno-specific immune responses with alloislet (AI) responses in primates. We recently developed a dual islet transplant model, which enables direct histologic comparison of early engraftment immunobiology. In this study, we investigate early immune responses to neonatal porcine islet (NPI) xenografts compared with rhesus islet allografts at 1 hour, 24 hours, and 7 days. Within the first 24 hours after intraportal infusion, we identified greater apoptosis (caspase 3 activity and TUNEL [terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling])-positive cells) of NPIs compared with AIs. Macrophage infiltration was significantly greater at 24 hours compared with 1 hour in both NPI (wild-type) and AIs. At 7 days, IgM and macrophages were highly specific for NPIs (α1,3-galactosyltransferase knockout) compared with AIs. These findings demonstrate an augmented macrophage and antibody response toward xenografts compared with allografts. These data may inform future immune or genetic manipulations required to improve xenoislet engraftment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)998-1006
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • alloantigen
  • basic (laboratory) research/science
  • islet transplantation
  • rejection: antibody-mediated (ABMR)
  • translational research/science
  • xenoantigen
  • xenotransplantation


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