Protective Effects of Recombinant Human Antithrombin III in Pig-to-Primate Renal Xenotransplantation



Delayed rejection of pig kidney xenografts by primates is associated with vascular injury that may be accompanied by a form of consumptive coagulopathy in recipients. Using a life-supporting pig-to-baboon renal xenotransplantation model, we have tested the hypothesis that treatment with recombinant human antithrombin III would prevent or at least delay the onset of rejection and coagulopathy. Non-immunosuppressed baboons were transplanted with transgenic pig kidneys expressing the human complement regulators CD55 and CD59. Recipients were treated with an intravenous infusion of antithrombin III eight hourly (250 units per kg body weight), with or without low molecular weight heparin. Antithrombin-treated recipients had preservation of normal renal function for 4–5 days, which was twice as long as untreated animals, and developed neither thrombocytopenia nor significant coagulopathy during this period. Thus, recombinant antithrombin III may be a useful therapeutic agent to ameliorate both early graft damage and the development of systemic coagulation disorders in pig-to-human xenotransplantation.