FK778 in Experimental Xenotransplantation: A Detailed Analysis of Drug Efficacy

Sonja Schrepfer, Tobias Deuse, Friedrich Koch-Nolte, Thorsten Krieger, Munif Haddad, Hansjörg Schäfer, Marc P. Pelletier, Robert C. Robbins, Hermann Reichenspurner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: This study examines the efficacy of FK778 regimens for prevention of different phases of xenograft rejection. Methods: Antibody and complement tissue depositions were measured by immunofluorescence in a discordant ex vivo rat-to-human heart perfusion model of hyperacute rejection with immunosuppressant-enriched human blood. The concordant hamster-to-rat aortic xenotransplantation model was used to assess host cellular (lymphocyte activation, mixed lymphocyte reaction [MLR]) and humoral responsiveness (xenoantibody production) as well as histologic xenograft rejection. Recipients were treated for 14 days with FK778, tacrolimus, sirolimus or combination regimens at varying doses. Results: Antibody binding during hyperacute rejection was unaffected by the immunosuppressive treatment, but complement deposition was reduced in the following order: tacrolimus > FK778 ≈ sirolimus. FK778 most effectively reduced complement factor 5 in vitro. In untreated rats with hamster aortic xenografts, a large infiltrative response was observed within the grafts with extensive myocyte necrosis. Tacrolimus > FK778 ≈ sirolimus dose-dependently diminished xenograft infiltration and in the same order reduced vessel-wall myocyte necrosis. Tacrolimus ≈ FK778 > sirolimus reduced in vivo lymphocyte CD25 expression and tacrolimus > FK778 ≈ sirolimus diminished MLR. Xenoreactive IgM and IgG antibody production levels were vigorously upregulated a few days after transplantation, but were significantly reduced by tacrolimus > FK778 ≈ sirolimus. Combination regimens revealed no significant benefit when compared with the corresponding monotherapy groups. Conclusions: FK778 mildly interfered with hyperacute rejection and markedly suppressed acute humoral and cellular aortic xenograft rejection. However, T-cell-dependent host responses were most potently suppressed by tacrolimus, and the overall efficacy of FK778 was similar to that of sirolimus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-77
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Transplantation


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