Chimerism following allogeneic organ transplantation is a phenomenon known to occur and be associated with development of immunologic tolerance in allotransplantation. However, little is known about graft cell migration following vascularized bone allografting. In this study, chimerism was assessed following vascularized tibia transplantation from male DA or PVG donors to female PVG rat recipients using a semi-quantitative polymerase chain reaction for the Y-chromosome. FK-506 (Tacrolimus) was administered after transplantation for immunosuppression. All immunosuppresssed PVG rat recipients of PVG bone grafts showed a high level of chimerism (1%) in the thymus, spleen, liver and cervical lymph nodes at 18 weeks post-transplant. Donor cells were also detected in the contralateral tibia and humerus. In non-immunosuppressed PVG rat recipients of DA bone grafts, donor cells were detected in the spleen in three of five rats within 2 weeks post-transplant. In these animals the bone grafts were severely rejected. In immunosuppressed PVG rat recipients of DA bone grafts, two of five, four of eight and eight of 10 rats showed low level chimerism (0.1%) in peripheral blood at 1, 12, and 18 weeks post-transplant. Six rats showed a high level of chimerism in the spleen and thymus. Histological studies revealed no rejection findings through 18 weeks post-transplant. Our results indicate that chimerism, or the presence of graft cells in host tissue, may occur in the face of acute rejection and be demonstrable following vascularized isograft and allograft living bone transplantation when chronic immunosuppression is maintained. Graft vascular patency during the short-term likely allows cellular migration, even in the face of acute rejection. Long-term survival and proliferation of graft marrow elements in host tissue may be possible with adequate immunosuppression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine