Simultaneous liver grafting in the Lewis (RT11)-to-DA (RT1a) rat strain combination protects small intestinal grafts from rejection. The present study examined host immune responses after combined small bowel/liver transplantation (SBL) in this model. Orthotopic liver transplantation and heterotopic small intestinal transplantation were performed simultaneously and compared with isolated small bowel allografts (SBA) and isolated small bowel isografts (SBI). All rats were sacrificed on postoperative day (POD) 7 or 14 for immunological and histological studies. The mean time to rejection of the SBA was 6.6±0.3 days. Incontrast, there was no clinical or histological evidence of intestinal rejection in SBL recipients during the 14 days of follow-up. The SBL recipients showed clinical and histological evidence of graft-versushost disease (GVHD). Lmphocyte proliferation and IL-2 production in response to donor antigens were suppressed after SBL transplantation compared with the SBA or the SBI controls (P<0.05). Cell-mediated cytotoxicity and lymphocytotoxic antibody production against donor cells were also significantly inhibited in the SBL recipients compared with the SBA control group (P<0.05). We conclude that SBL transplantation in the Lewis-toDA rat strain combination: (1) suppresses host alloimmune responses, (2) prevents early intestinal rejection, and (3) favors the development of GVHD.
- Immune suppression small bowel/liver transplantation, rat
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