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Allogeneic Versus Xenogeneic Immune Reaction to Bioengineered Skin Grafts

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There are conflicting reports on the survival and immune reaction to allografts and xenografts of cultured skin substitutes (CSS). In this study, we investigated the allogeneic and xenogeneic responses to CSS of human keratinocytes and genetically engineered CSS expressing keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) that forms a hyperproliferative epidermis. CSS (control and KGF modified) and neonatal human foreskins were evaluated by immunohistochemistry for the expression of MHC class I and II. To study allograft rejection, grafts were transplanted to human peripheral blood mononuclear cell (huPBMC)-reconstituted SCID mice. To study xenograft rejection, grafts were transplanted to immunocompetent mice. Graft survival and immune reaction were assessed visually and microscopically. After transplantation, control CSS formed a normal differentiated epidermis, whereas KGF CSS formed a hyperproliferative epidermis. Control and KGF CSS expressed class I similar to neonatal foreskin, but did not express class II. In the allograft model, rejection of neonatal foreskins was between 5 and 9 days. In contrast, neither control nor KGF CSS was rejected by huPBMC-SCID mice. Histology showed dense mononuclear cell infiltration in human foreskins, with few, if any, mononuclear cells in control or KGF CSS. In contrast to the allogeneic reaction, CSS (control and KGF) were rejected in the xenograft model, but rejection was delayed (9–21 days) compared with neonatal skin (5–8 days). Humanized SCID mice rejected allografts of human neonatal foreskins, but did not reject control CSS or KGF CSS, even though the KGF CSS formed a hyperproliferative epidermis. Rejection of control and KGF CSS by immunocompetent mice in a xenograft model was comparable and their survival was significantly prolonged compared with neonatal skin. These results demonstrate that control CSS and hyperproliferative KGF CSS are less immunogenic than normal human skin and that sustained hyperproliferation of the epidermis does not accelerate rejection.
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Keywords: Allograft; Cultured skin substitute; Islets; Keratinocyte growth factor; Rejection; Xenograft

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: *Center for Engineering in Medicine and Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Shriners Hospital for Children, Boston, MA, 02114

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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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.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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