Cardiac xenotransplantation in nonprimates using traditional immunosuppression (azathioprine and prednisone) or cyclosporine has been unsuccessful or has required doses of immunosuppressants not tolerated by man. This study sought to determine if primate hearts could be transplanted successfully across genus boundaries using a dose of cyclosporine applicable to human transplantation. The hearts of outbred cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularia) were heterotopically transplanted into the necks of outbred baboons (Papio anuble). Hyperacute rejection did not occur and there were no cyclosporine-induced malignancies or nephrotoxicity. A 12-fold prolongation of mean cardiac xenograft survival to 77 days was accomplished using parenteral cyclosporine and steroids. The histology of rejection was notable for the appearance of reversible rejection on the 30-day biopsies. The histopathologic and immunologic data support the role of both cell-mediated and humoral mechanisms in primate cardiac xenograft rejection. Neither mixed lymphocyte cultures or cytotoxic antibody assays were predictive of graft loss, but there was a significant increase in their respective levels at the time of cessation of graft function. Thus, significant prolongation of primate cardiac graft survival across a genus boundary was accomplished using a dose of cyclosporine similar to that used in human transplantation.
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