Xenotransplantation: Current Challenges and Emerging Solutions

Tarek Ziad Arabi, Belal Nedal Sabbah, Amir Lerman, Xiang Yang Zhu, Lilach O. Lerman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


To address the ongoing shortage of organs available for replacement, xenotransplantation of hearts, corneas, skin, and kidneys has been attempted. However, a major obstacle facing xenotransplants is rejection due to a cycle of immune reactions to the graft. Both adaptive and innate immune systems contribute to this cycle, in which natural killer cells, macrophages, and T-cells play a significant role. While advancements in the field of genetic editing can circumvent some of these obstacles, biomarkers to identify and predict xenograft rejection remain to be standardized. Several T-cell markers, such as CD3, CD4, and CD8, are useful in both the diagnosis and prediction of xenograft rejection. Furthermore, an increase in the levels of various circulating DNA markers and microRNAs is also predictive of xenograft rejection. In this review, we summarize recent findings on the advancements in xenotransplantation, with a focus on pig-to-human, the role of immunity in xenograft rejection, and its biomarkers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCell transplantation
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023


  • diagnostic biomarkers
  • genetic editing
  • immune rejection
  • predictive biomarkers
  • tolerance induction
  • xenoantigens
  • xenotransplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cell Biology
  • Transplantation


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