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Title: Tolerance induction for vascularized composite allotransplantation through induction of stable hematopoietic mixed chimerism
Author: Leonard, David
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 4096
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2015
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Vascularized composite allotransplantation has developed as a specialty at the interface of reconstructive and transplant surgery, offering restoration of function and form in scenarios where options for autologous reconstruction are limited, and for which the burden of donor-site morbidity may be high. Over the past 15 years some 28 patients have received face, and 85 patients upper extremity transplants. Results have been encouraging, with good functional outcomes, and the majority of patients reporting return to independence, employment and improved quality of life. However, the immunological management of these patients remains a significant challenge. While conventional immunosuppressive regimens have proven effective in preventing graft loss to rejection, they have failed to protect patients from acute rejection episodes, which have been reported in 85% during the first year post-transplant. When considered alongside the burden of comorbidity associated with life-long immunosuppression, the impetus for development of novel approaches to the prevention of rejection is clear. Induction of hematopoietic mixed chimerism has successfully achieved transplant tolerance, defined as specific unresponsiveness to donor antigens permitting life-long acceptance of transplanted tissues without maintenance immunosuppression, in numerous animal models and recently, of renal allografts in clinical trials. The work presented in this thesis investigates mixed chimerism for induction of tolerance of vascularized composite allografts (VCAs) across class I and II major histocompatibility (MHC) barriers in the Massachusetts General Hospital miniature swine model; a large animal model with defined MHC immunogenetics, and skin closely analogous to that of humans. The data presented demonstrate development of a reproducible model of VCA tolerance and stable hematopoietic mixed chimerism in a preclinical model. Importantly, tolerance extended to all components of VCAs including the epidermis and dermis, a previously un-reproducible finding. In vitro analysis demonstrated no evidence for either IL-2 reversible anergy or cellular regulation as mechanisms of donor-specific unresponsiveness, suggesting that at a systemic level, tolerance in this model may be primarily mediated by clonal deletion. In contrast, characterization of the cutaneous immune system demonstrated rapid infiltration of VCAs with recipient T cells and Langerhans’ cells, which in chimeric recipients did not cause rejection but rather established stable chimerism in all tissue-resident populations including dermal T cells with the phenotype of Tregs (CD25+FoxP3+); findings which suggest tissue-specific, and regulatory, mechanisms may play important roles. These data support the hypothesis that mixed chimerism is sufficient for whole-skin tolerance of VCAs, but further work is required to demonstrate the necessity of stable, rather than transient, chimerism and to confirm the necessity of other systemic or tissue-specific factors for prevention of epidermal rejection.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Vascularized composite allotransplantation ; Transplant ; Mixed chimerism ; Tolerance ; Large animal model