Mechanisms of thrombotic microangiopathy following xenogeneic hematopoietic progenitor cell transplantation Article

cited authors

  • Alwayn, IPJ; Buhler, L; Appel, JZ; Goepfert, C; Csizmadia, E; Correa, L; Harper, D; Kitamura, H; Down, J; Awwad, M; Sackstein, R; Cooper, DKC; Robson, SC

fiu authors


  • Introduction. Attempts to induce tolerance though mixed hematopoietic chimerism in the discordant pig-to-baboon xenotransplantation model are sometimes complicated by a potentially fatal thrombotic microangiopathy in the recipient baboons. This state develops immediately after the infusion of porcine mobilized peripheral blood leukocytes, containing progenitor cells (PBPC). In our study, we examined the interaction of infused porcine PBPC with recipient platelets in vivo in baboons and investigated the underlying mechanisms using an in vitro model. Methods. Two naive baboons and six baboons preconditioned with irradiation and immunosuppression that received porcine PBPC were evaluated in vivo. The interaction of porcine and baboon PBPC with baboon platelets was investigated by an in vitro platelet aggregation assay. Fresh and cryopreserved PBPC were evaluated as well as PBPC obtained from growth-factor mobilized and unmobilized pigs. Furthermore, cellular subsets of PBPC were assessed for potential to induce platelet aggregation. Immunohistochemical staining was performed on platelet-leukocyte aggregates and potential inhibition of aggregation with anti-P-selectin and anti-CD154 mAbs, or eptifibatide (a GPIIb/IIIa receptor antagonist), was tested. Results. All baboons that received porcine PBPC rapidly developed marked thrombocytopenia (<20,000/ μl), elevated serum lactate dehydrogenase (>1,500U/liter), schistocytosis, and platelet aggregates on blood smear. Three baboons died (two untreated and one preconditioned), and substantive platelet aggregates containing porcine leukocytes were observed in the microvasculature of lungs and kidneys. In vitro, porcine, but not baboon, PBPC induced aggregation of baboon platelets in a dose-dependent manner. Immunohistological examination of these aggregates confirmed the incorporation of porcine leukocytes. Cryopreserved PBPC caused less aggregation than fresh PBPC, and growthfactor-mobilized PBPC induced less aggregation than unmobilized PBPC. Aggregation was fully abrogated by the addition of eptifibatide, and modulated by anti-P-selectin and anti-CD154 monoclonal antibodies that recognize adhesion receptors on activated platelets. Purified fractions (granulocytes, CD2+, and CD- cells) of porcine PBPC did not initiate aggregation, whereas addition of exogenous porcine PBPC membranes (erythrocytes, dead cells, and/or platelets) to the purified fractions exacerbated the aggregation response. Conclusions. These data indicate that porcine PBPC mediate aggregation of baboon platelets. This process likely contributes to the thrombotic microangiopathy observed after PBPC transplantation in the pig-to-baboon model. Eptifibatide can fully abrogate platelet aggregation induced by porcine PBPC in vitro. Purification of the progenitor cells from porcine PBPC and/or treatment of baboons with eptifibatide may be beneficial.

publication date

  • June 15, 2001

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 1601

end page

  • 1609


  • 71


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