BACKGROUND. We set out to determine whether B-cell tolerance to A/B-incompatible alloantigens and pig xenoantigens could be achieved in infant baboons. METHODS. Artery patch grafts were implanted in the abdominal aorta in 3-month-old baboons using A/B-incompatible (AB-I) allografts or wild-type pig xenografts (pig). Group 1 (Gp1) (controls, n=6) received no immunosuppressive therapy (IS) and no graft. Gp2 (n=2) received an AB-I or pig graft but no IS. Gp3 received AB-I grafts+IS (Gp3A: n=2) or pig grafts+IS (Gp3B: n=2). IS consisted of ATG, anti-CD154mAb, and mycophenolate mofetil until age 8 to 12 months. Gp4 (n=2) received IS only but no graft. RESULTS. In Gp1, anti-A/B and cytotoxic anti-pig immunoglobulin-M increased steadily during the first year. Gp2 became sensitized to donor-specific AB-I or pig antigens within 2 weeks. Gp3 and Gp4 infants that received anti-CD154mAb made no or minimal anti-A/B and anti-pig antibodies while receiving IS. DISCUSSION. The production of natural anti-A/B and anti-pig antibodies was inhibited by IS with anti-CD154mAb, even in the absence of an allograft or xenograft, suggesting that natural antibodies may not be entirely T-cell independent. These data are in contrast to clinical experience with AB-I allotransplantation in infants, who cease producing only donor-specific antibodies.

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Department of Surgery

Dons, E., Montoya, C., Long, C., Hara, H., Echeverri, G., Ekser, B., … Cooper, D. (2012). T-cell-based immunosuppressive therapy inhibits the development of natural antibodies in infant baboons. Transplantation, 93(8), 769–776. doi:10.1097/TP.0b013e3182481168