Composite 'Thymoheart' Transplantation Improves Cardiac Allograft Survival

Matthew T. Menard, Margaret L. Schwarze, James S. Allan, Douglas R. Johnston, Kwabena Mawulawde, Akira Shimizu, Kazuhiko Yamada, Stuart L. Houser, Kenneth S. Allison, David H. Sachs, Joren C. Madsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

We have generated a novel composite organ, the thymoheart, which facilitates the contemporaneous transfer of fully vascularized and functional donor thymic tissue to the host at the time of cardiac transplantation. Composite thymoheart allografts were prepared in MHC-inbred miniature swine by implanting autologous thymic tissue into donor hearts 60-90 days before organ procurement. Thymoheart allografts and unmanipulated control hearts were then transplanted into three groups, each treated with the same 12 days of cyclosporine. MHC-matched thymohearts transplanted into euthymic recipients had a minimum survival ranging between 72 and 194 days vs. 42-64 days for unmanipulated control hearts (p = 0.02). MHC class I-disparate thymohearts transplanted into euthymic recipients had a minimum survival ranging between 64 and 191 days vs. 30-55 days for unmanipulated control hearts (p = 0.01). MHC class I-disparate thymohearts transplanted into thymectomized recipients survived between 41 and 70 days vs. 8-27 days for unmanipulated control hearts (p = 0.01). Cellular and humoral functional assays, and skin grafting, confirmed the presence of donor-specific hyporesponsiveness in long-term thymoheart allografts recipients. The transfer of vascularized, functional donor thymic tissue to the host at the time of cardiac transplantation may provide a novel approach to the induction of tolerance in human heart transplant recipients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-86
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2004

Keywords

  • Heart
  • Swine
  • Thymus
  • Tolerance
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Immunology and Allergy

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