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Keywords:

  • antibodies anti-Gal;
  • insulin dose;
  • neonatal pig islets;
  • transplantation;
  • type 1 diabetes

Summary

Pig xenografts represent an alternative source of organs for transplantation. Immunosuppression can prevent rejection, but involves high risk and cost. New anti-rejection techniques have been developed; however, results have not been successful. Few studies have reported xenoantibody levels in xenotransplanted patients with diabetes and no patients have reported a clinical correlation. We analysed anti-galactose (Gal) and other anti-pig antibody (APA) levels in xenotransplanted patients with type 1 diabetes and the relation to the clinical outcome. Twenty-three patients with type 1 diabetes were transplanted with porcine islets inside a device without immunosuppression. Demographic characteristics, insulin dose and xenoantibody levels at different periods were recorded. Anti-Gal and anti-pig antibodies were measured through indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and haemolytic anti-pig antibody assay. More than 50% were female; the mean current age, current diabetes duration, diabetes duration at xenotransplantation and time post-transplantation were: 20·8, 11, 5·5 and 5·7 years, respectively. Insulin doses remained with a mean reduction greater than 33% in more than 50% of the patients. The lowest anti-Gal antibody levels were related to the highest insulin dose reductions. This relationship could be explained by the device, Sertoli cells and accommodation process.