A study in the November issue of Nature Medicine shows that infants can tolerate incompatible heart transplants for years and provides a possible cellular explanation.
Induction of immune tolerance to incompatible organs has remained an elusive clinical goal. Now, Lori West and her colleagues show that heart transplants between infants from different blood groups can be tolerated for years. They found that tolerance occurs by elimination of the host immune cells that react against donor antigens -- B lymphocytes -- and depends on the persistent expression of the donor antigen in the recipient.
These findings have profound implications for clinical research on tolerance induction during transplantation between incompatible subjects.
Laura Greer - Manager, Public Affairs (The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute, Toronto, Canada)
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