Cellular dynamics in pig-to-human kidney xenotransplantation.

Med (New York, N.Y.)

BACKGROUND: Xenotransplantation of genetically engineered porcine organs has the potential to address the challenge of organ donor shortage. Two cases of porcine-to-human kidney xenotransplantation were performed, yet the physiological effects on the xenografts and the recipients' immune responses remain largely uncharacterized.METHODS: We performed single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) and longitudinal RNA-seq analyses of the porcine kidneys to dissect xenotransplantation-associated cellular dynamics and xenograft-recipient interactions. We additionally performed longitudinal scRNA-seq of the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) to detect recipient immune responses across time.FINDINGS: Although no hyperacute rejection signals were detected, scRNA-seq analyses of the xenografts found evidence of endothelial cell and immune response activation, indicating early signs of antibody-mediated rejection. Tracing the cells' species origin, we found human immune cell infiltration in both xenografts. Human transcripts in the longitudinal bulk RNA-seq revealed that human immune cell infiltration and the activation of interferon-gamma-induced chemokine expression occurred by 12 and 48 h post-xenotransplantation, respectively. Concordantly, longitudinal scRNA-seq of PBMCs also revealed two phases of the recipients' immune responses at 12 and 48-53 h. Lastly, we observed global expression signatures of xenotransplantation-associated kidney tissue damage in the xenografts. Surprisingly, we detected a rapid increase of proliferative cells in both xenografts, indicating the activation of the porcine tissue repair program.CONCLUSIONS: Longitudinal and single-cell transcriptomic analyses of porcine kidneys and the recipient's PBMCs revealed time-resolved cellular dynamics of xenograft-recipient interactions during xenotransplantation. These cues can be leveraged for designing gene edits and immunosuppression regimens to optimize xenotransplantation outcomes.FUNDING: This work was supported by NIH RM1HG009491 and DP5OD033430.

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Med (New York, N.Y.)
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