Current status of pig liver xenotransplantation

Burcin Ekser, James F. Markmann, A. Joseph Tector

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The shortage of organs from deceased human donors is a major problem limiting the number of organs transplanted each year and results in the death of thousands of patients on the waiting list. Pigs are currently the preferred species for clinical organ xenotransplantation. Progress in genetically-engineered (GE) pig liver xenotransplantation increased graft and recipient survival from hours with unmodified pig livers to up to 9 days with normal to near-normal liver function. Deletion of genes such as GGTA1 (Gal-knockout pigs) or adding genes such as human complement regulatory proteins (hCD55, hCD46 expressing pigs) enabled hyperacute rejection to be overcome. Although survival up to 9 days was recorded, extended pig graft survival was not achieved due to lethal thrombocytopenia. The current status of GE pig liver xenotransplantation with world experience, potential factors causing thrombocytopenia, new targets on pig endothelial cells, and novel GE pigs with more genes deletion to avoid remaining antibody response, such as beta1,4-N-acetyl galactosaminyl transferase 2 (β4GalNT2), are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-246
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Surgery
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute liver failure
  • Liver
  • Nonhuman primate
  • Pig
  • Xenotransplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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