Short-term immunosuppression enhances long-term survival of bovine chromaffin cell xenografts in rat CNS

John D. Ortega, Jacqueline Sagen, George D. Pappas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Xenogeneic donors, a largely untapped resource, would solve many of the problems associated with the limited availability of human donor tissue for neural transplantation. Previous work in our laboratory has revealed that xenografts of isolated bovine chromaffin cells survive transplantation into the periaqueductal gray (PAG) of immunosuppressed adult rats. Electron microscopic analysis reveals that graft sites contain healthy chromaffin cells, but do not contain host immune cells typical of graft rejection. The aim of the current study was to assess the necessary conditions for long-term survival of bovine chromaffin cell xenografts in the central nervous system (CNS). In particular, the need for short-course vs. permanent immunosuppressive therapy with cyclosporine A (CsA) for the long-term survival of grafted bovine chromaffin cells was addressed. Grafts from animals receiving continuous CsA treatment for either 3, 6, or 12 wk contained large clumps of dopamine-β-hydroxylase (DBH) positive cells in contrast to the few surviving cells observed in nonimmunosuppressed animals. In addition, grafts from animals that had CsA treatment terminated at 3 or 6 wk contained similarly large clumps of DBH-positive cells. Furthermore, short-term immunosuppression (3 wk) appeared to enhance the long-term survival of grafted cells, since clumps of DBH staining cells could still be positively identified in the host PAG at least 1 yr after transplantation. Complete rejection of graft tissue depends on several factors, such as blood-brain barrier integrity, the presence of major histocompatability complex (MHC) antigens in either the host or graft, and the status of the host immune system. By using a suspension of isolated bovine chromaffin cells, potential MHC antigen presenting cells, such as endothelial cells, are eliminated. In addition, CsA treatment may negate the immunologic consequences of increased blood-brain barrier permeability following surgical trauma by attenuating the host cell mediated response. In summary, long-term survival of isolated chromaffin cell xenografts in the rat CNS may be attained by a short-term course of CsA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-41
Number of pages9
JournalCell transplantation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Adrenal medulla
  • Cyclosporine A
  • Neural transplants
  • Periaqueductal gray

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation
  • Cell Biology


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