Pig liver xenotransplantation is limited by a thrombocytopenic coagulopathy that occurs immediately following graft reperfusion. In vitro and ex vivo studies from our lab suggested that the thrombocytopenia may be the result of a species incompatibility in platelet glycosylation. Realization that platelet α-granules contain antibodies caused us to reevaluate whether the thrombocytopenia in liver xenotransplantation could occur because IgM and IgG from inside platelet α-granules bound to pig liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs). Our in vitro analysis of IgM and IgG from inside α-granules showed that platelets do carry xenoreactive antibodies that can bind to known xenoantigens. This study suggests that thrombocytopenia occurring following liver xenotransplantation could occur because of xenoreactive antibodies tethering human platelets to the pig LSEC enabling the platelet to be phagocytosed. These results suggest genetic engineering strategies aimed at reducing xenoantigens on the surface of pig LSEC will be effective in eliminating the thrombocytopenia that limits survival in liver xenotransplantation.
- endothelial cell