Replacement of donor lymphoid tissue by lymphocytes of recipient origin is an established phenomenon in small bowel transplants. However, replacement of donor epithelial cells of bowel grafts by host cells has not been demonstrated. The objective of our study was to determine whether donor enterocytes are replaced by host-derived enterocytes in the intestinal allograft. Graft biopsy specimens, obtained from five human male recipients of female intestine, were examined for the presence of male enterocytes. The biopsies dated from 90 to 770 days posttransplant. Formalin-fixed 3-μm specimen sections were stained for X and Y chromosomes by fluorescent in situ hybridization technique. Fluorescent microscopy of the stained sections identified male enterocytes in four patients, with a percentage of male cells ranging from 0.09% to 0.26% of the total enterocyte mass. Using the fluorescent in situ hybridization technique, we demonstrated the presence of host-derived male (XY) enterocytes in the female intestinal graft.
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