Porcine hematopoietic cell xenotransplantation in nonhuman primates is complicated by thrombotic microangiopathy Article

cited authors

  • B├╝hler, L; Goepfert, C; Kitamura, H; Basker, M; Gojo, S; Alwayn, IPJ; Chang, Q; Down, JD; Tsai, H; Wise, R; Sachs, DH; Cooper, DKC; Robson, SC; Sackstein, R

fiu authors


  • Thrombotic microangiopathy (TM) is a serious complication of bone marrow transplantation (BMT) that resembles thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP). In attempting to achieve hematopoietic cell chimerism in the pig-to-baboon model, we have observed TM following infusion of high doses (>1010 cells/kg) of porcine peripheral blood mobilized progenitor cells (PBPC) into baboons. We performed investigations to analyze the pathobiology of this TM and to test therapeutic interventions to ameliorate it. PBPC were obtained by leukapheresis of cytokine-stimulated swine. The initial observations were made in two baboons that underwent a non-myeloablative regimen (NMR) prior to PBPC transplantation (TX) (group 1). We then studied three experimental groups. Group 2 (n = 2) received NMR without PBPC TX. Group 3 (n = 2) received PBPC TX alone. Group 4 (n = 6) received NMR + PBPC TX combined with prostacyclin, low-dose heparin, methylprednisolone, and cyclosporine was replaced by anti-CD40L mAb in five cases. Baboons in groups 1 and 3 developed severe thrombocytopenia (<10 000/mm3), intravascular hemolysis with schistocytosis (>10/high powered field (hpf)), increase in plasma lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) (2500-9000 U/l), transient neurologic changes, renal insufficiency, and purpura. Autopsy on two baboons confirmed extensive platelet thrombi in the microcirculation, and, similar to clinical BMT-associated TM/TTP, no unusually large vWF multimers or changes in vWF protease activity were observed in the plasma of baboons with TM. In group 2, self-limited thrombocytopenia occurred for 10-15 days following NMR. Group 4 baboons developed thrombocytopenia (<20 000/mm3) rarely requiring platelet transfusion, minimal schistocytosis (<3/hpf), minor increase in LDH (<1000 U/l), with no clinical sequelae. We conclude that high-dose porcine PBPC infusion into baboons induces a microangiopathic state with vWF biochemical parameters resembling clinical BMT-associated TM/TTP and that administration of antithrombotic and anti-inflammatory agents can ameliorate this complication.

publication date

  • July 28, 2001

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 1227

end page

  • 1236


  • 27


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