Species differences of endothelial extracellular nucleotide metabolism and its implications for xenotransplantation

Ryszard T. Smolenski, Zain Khalpey, Foy N. Osborne, Ada Yuen, Ewa M. Slominska, Marcin Upiński, Marialuisa Lavitrano, Marlene Rose, Magdi H. Yacoub

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


There is a severe shortage of human organs available for transplantation and xeuolransplantaiion - use of animal organs has loug been suggested to overcome this problem. Recent advances in understanding rejection in xenotranplantation and development of geuetically engineered pigs thai reduced hyperacule rejection were fundamental steps forward but other unresolved mechanisms remain an obstacle. Endothelium is a major targel for all rejection mechanisms in xenotransplantation. This is caused not only by location of these cells, at the first line of contact but also because endothelium is a very variable ceil type across different species. This variability affects not only its immune characteristics but also physiology and metabolism. Nucleotide metabolism is particularly variable in endothelial ceils, of different species. We attributed particular importance to one such difference - much lower activity of ecto-5′-nucleotidase (E5'N) in pig endothelial cells as compared to human. To study its significance our group developed pig endotheiial cell line stably expressing human E5'N. This, allowed us to determine that ES'N controls the rate of adenosine formation from extracellular nucleotides even with ATP as the substrate. Expression of human E5'N in pig cells attenuated several mechanisms involved in xenotransplanl rejection such as cytotoxicity induced by human NK cells, human platelet aggregation or human platelet adherence to endothelium. We conclude that species differences of endothelial nucieotide metabolism could contribute to rejection following xenotransplantation. These studies suggests that expression of human ecto-5′-nucleotidase in pigs genetically engineered for xenotransplantation could help to prolong graft survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-125
Number of pages8
JournalPharmacological Reports
Issue numberSUPPL.
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Adenosine ATP
  • Endothelium
  • Hyperacute rejection
  • Xenotransplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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