Monkeying around to improve organ transplantation

06/02/05

EDITORS' PICK

Organ transplantation is accompanied by nonspecific immune suppression therapy to prevent T cell-mediated rejection. These immunosuppressants can cause infection, hypertension, cancer, and other undesirable side effects. Therefore, specific suppression of the T cells that attack the transplanted organ is needed.

It was known that anergic T cells (immune T cells that do not respond to antigen stimulation) generated in an artificial environment outside the living organism have immunosuppressive activity in vitro. Now in a study appearing online on June 9 in advance of the print publication of the July 1 print issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Hisashi Bashuda and colleagues from Juntendo University investigate whether this approach can induce indefinite organ allograft survival in vivo, in six rhesus monkeys.

The authors stimulate recipient T cells from the monkeys with donor cells under conditions associated with the development of T cell anergy. Reinfusion of these cells into the recipient after kidney transplantation leads to very prolonged –880 days– and perhaps even indefinite graft survival in three long-surviving animals without administration of additional immunosuppressive agents. This study shows for the first time that anergic T cells generated ex vivo suppress renal allograft rejection in non-human primates. This may be an approach that could be used in human transplant trials.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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