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Keywords:

  • immune tolerance;
  • intestinal transplantation;
  • multivisceral transplantation;
  • Recipient preconditioning with Thymoglobulin or Campath (alemtuzumab);
  • weaning of immunosuppression

Summary

Introduction of new innovative immunosuppressive strategies has been the milestone of the recent evolution of intestinal and multivisceral transplantation. With new insights into the mechanisms of organ engraftment and acquired tolerance, the Pittsburgh tolerogenic protocol was recently introduced and consisted of two main therapeutic principles: recipient pretreatment with lymphoid ablating antibodies and minimal post-transplant immunosuppression with tacrolimus monotherapy. The reported herein improved survival and the striking ability to wean immunosuppression among the intestinal and multivisceral recipients pretreated with a single-dose of Thymoglobulin (rATG) or Campath-1H (alemtuzumab) supports our working hypothesis with successful induction of variable tolerance. It is important, however, that careful monitoring of subtle histologic changes in serial endoscopic-guided mucosal biopsies be carried out for early diagnosis of allograft immune activation with prompt restoration of the baseline immunosuppressive therapy. Future scientific discoveries with better understanding of the mechanisms of immune tolerance and clinical introduction of reliable assays will increase the chance and safety of achieving complete tolerance among the intestinal and other solid organ recipients. This review will focus on the historic evolution of the immunosuppressive and other management strategies utilized for the intestinal and multivisceral recipients at the University of Pittsburgh with special reference to allograft immunity and the successful achievement of partial tolerance.