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Transplants of Rat Chondrocytes Evoke Strong Humoral Response Against Chondrocyte-Associated Antigen in Rabbits

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Rat chondrocytes transplanted intramuscularly in rabbits produced cartilage. In 1-day-old transplants chondrocytes remained viable. After 1 week peripheral chondrocytes of the transplant were dead and the cartilage was surrounded and resorbed by macrophages. In 2-week-old transplants cartilage deteriorated and was invaded by fibroblast-like cells and macrophages. Sera of rabbits that received two or three consecutive transplants of rat chondrocytes with 2-week intervals contained high titer of antichondrocyte cytotoxic antibodies. A part of the cytotoxic activity could be removed by absorption with rat splenocytes. Western blot analysis of lysates from fresh or 24-h cultured chondrocytes with absorbed sera detected antigen with Mr of ∼74 and ∼23 kDa. Only the latter remained after reduction in 2-mercaptoethanol. In lysates of fibroblasts and endotheliocytes the 23-kDa antigen was not found but the serum reacted with Mr 39-kDa antigen. In lysates of thymocytes a weak band corresponding to Mr of 35 kDa was present. Serum from rabbits receiving transplants of living chondrocytes followed by chondrocytes suspended in complete Freund's adjuvant contained antibodies directed against components of crude collagenase used for cell isolation. Such antibodies could not be detected in sera of rabbits receiving transplants of living chondrocytes only. Molecular weight of detected antigen differs from that of collagen type II, core of aggrecan, link proteins, and several other macromolecules of cartilage matrix. It could represent either a component of chondrocyte membrane or a membrane-bound substance resistant to enzymes used for isolation. Availability of antibodies against presumably chondrocyte-specific antigen produced during transplant rejection may help to characterize it more precisely and to ascertain whether its presence may influence results of autogenous chondrocyte transplants in humans.

Keywords: Antichondrocyte cytotoxic antibodies; Chondrocyte-associated antigen; Xenogeneic chondrocyte transplantation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Histology and Embryology, Medical University of Warsaw, Pl-02004 Warsaw, Poland

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.
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