The link between chimerism and tolerance is well established. In a rhesus macaque study, Ramakrishnan et al. show that the type of chimerism might have an important effect on tolerance to kidney allografts, pointing to a critical role of donor T-cell production for success. These findings could directly impact clinical efforts to induce tolerance to allografts.
"Notably, chimerism in the Treg-treated group was of a multilineage nature and chimerism levels in peripheral blood correlated with chimerism in lymphoid organs (BM and spleen, 7 months post-BMT; Figure 2B and C). Levels of T-cell chimerism, generally thought to correlate with successful tolerance induction17,18—albeit present—remained low in all tested tissues. Multilineage chimerism persisted and remained stable for the length of follow-up (up to 7 months post-BMT), suggesting successful engraftment and survival of donor hematopoietic stem cells in chimeras of both groups. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mixed chimerism approach induces donor-specific tolerance in both pre-clinical models and clinical pilot trials. However, chronic rejection of heart allografts and acute rejection of skin allografts were observed in some chimeric animals despite persistent hematopoietic chimerism and tolerance toward donor antigens in vitro. We tested whether additional cell therapy with regulatory T cells (Tregs) is able to induce full immunologic tolerance and prevent chronic rejection.
We recently developed a murine "Treg bone marrow (BM) transplantation (BMT) protocol" that is devoid of cytoreductive recipient pre-treatment. The protocol consists of a moderate dose of fully mismatched allogeneic donor BM under costimulation blockade, together with polyclonal recipient Tregs and rapamycin. Control groups received BMT under non-myeloablative irradiation and costimulation blockade without Treg therapy. Multilineage chimerism was followed by flow cytometry, and tolerance was assessed by donor-specific skin and heart allografts.
Durable multilineage chimerism and long-term donor skin and heart allograft survival were successfully achieved with both protocols. Notably, histologic examination of heart allografts at the end of follow-up revealed that chronic rejection is prevented only in chimeras induced with the Treg protocol.
In a mouse model of mixed chimerism, additional Treg treatment at the time of BMT prevents chronic rejection of heart allografts. As the Treg-chimerism protocol also obviates the need for cytoreductive recipient treatment it improves both efficacy and safety over previous non-myeloablative mixed chimerism regimens. These results may significantly impact the development of protocols for tolerance induction in cardiac transplantation.
The Journal of heart and lung transplantation: the official publication of the International Society for Heart Transplantation 11/2013; 33(4). DOI:10.1016/j.healun.2013.11.004 · 6.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The immunoregulatory properties of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) have been recognized for more than 60 years, beginning in 1945, when Owen reported that genetically disparate freemartin cattle sharing a common placenta were red blood cell chimeras. In 1953, Billingham, Brent, and Medawar demonstrated that murine neonatal chimeras prepared by infusion of donor-derived hematopoietic cells exhibited donor-specific tolerance to skin allografts. Various approaches using HSCs in organ transplantation have gradually brought closer to reality the dream of inducing donor-specific tolerance in organ transplant recipients. Several hurdles needed to be overcome, especially the risk of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), the toxicity of ablative conditioning, and the need for close donor-recipient matching. For wide acceptance, HSC therapy must be safe and reproducible in mismatched donor-recipient combinations. Discoveries in other disciplines have often unexpectedly and synergistically contributed to progress in this area. This review presents a historic perspective of the quest for tolerance in organ transplantation, highlighting current clinical approaches.Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics (2012); advance online publication 5 December 2012. doi:10.1038/clpt.2012.201.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although transplantation has been a standard medical practice for decades, marked morbidity from the use of immunosuppressive drugs and poor long-term graft survival remain important limitations in the field. Since the first solid organ transplant between the Herrick twins in 1954, transplantation immunology has sought to move away from harmful, broad-spectrum immunosuppressive regimens that carry with them the long-term risk of potentially life-threatening opportunistic infections, cardiovascular disease, and malignancy, as well as graft toxicity and loss, towards tolerogenic strategies that promote long-term graft survival. Reports of "transplant tolerance" in kidney and liver allograft recipients whose immunosuppressive drugs were discontinued for medical or non-compliant reasons, together with results from experimental models of transplantation, provide the proof-of-principle that achieving tolerance in organ transplantation is fundamentally possible. However, translating the reconstitution of immune tolerance into the clinical setting is a daunting challenge fraught with the complexities of multiple interacting mechanisms overlaid on a background of variation in disease. In this article, we explore the basic science underlying mechanisms of tolerance and review the latest clinical advances in the quest for transplantation tolerance.
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