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Down-regulation of Gal alpha(1,3)Gal expression by alpha1,2-fucosyltransferase: further characterization of alpha1,2-fucosyltransferase transgenic mice.

Cohney S, McKenzie IF, Patton K, Prenzoska J, Ostenreid K, Fodor WL, Sandrin MS

  • Journal Transplantation

  • Published 11 Sep 1997

  • Volume 64

  • ISSUE 3

  • Pagination 495-500

  • DOI 10.1097/00007890-199708150-00020


In pig-to-primate transplantation, antibody-mediated hyperacute rejection is the consequence of binding of natural antibodies to Gal alpha(1,3)Gal on pig endothelium. The elimination of the Gal alpha(1,3)Gal antigen from pig cells should prevent hyperacute rejection. Using in vitro techniques, we have previously reported that using the alpha1,2-fucosyltransferase gene induces the preferential expression of H substance with a concomitant reduction in the expression of Gal alpha(1,3)Gal. The aim of the present study was to examine the effect of expressing the alpha1,2-fucosyltransferase gene in vivo on Gal alpha(1,3)Gal.

Three alpha1,2-fucosyltransferase transgenic lines of mice were produced and characterized serologically and histologically.

Immunohistological studies showed heavy staining for H substance in liver, spleen, kidney, and heart, with a reduction in staining for Gal alpha(1,3)Gal. In addition, there was a reduction in the binding of human anti-Gal alpha(1,3)Gal antibody to lymphocytes from alpha1,2-fucosyltransferase transgenic mice and a substantial decrease in complement-mediated cytolysis of alpha1,2-fucosyltransferase transgenic lymphocytes when compared with that obtained with normal mice.

The findings have important implications, in that alpha1,2-fucosyltransferase transgenic pigs could be produced as a source for humans. Such pigs should have a reduced expression of Gal alpha(1,3)Gal.