Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Alpha-Gal detectors in xenotransplantation research: a word of caution

Xenogeneic tissues are currently employed in clinical practice to create biological substitutes (bioprosthetic heart valves) and in the repair of various damaged tissues (pericardium, gastric-mucosa, nerves, cartilage). Many studies have shown that xenogeneic tissues express superficial epitopes as alpha-Gal, capable of triggering hyperacute and acute vascular rejection phenomena. Currently, no tissue treatment has proven able to completely mask or inactivate such epitopes. In fact, neither glutaraldehyde fixation nor decellularisation procedures ensure a definitive solution because of the persistence of reactive xenoantigen residues. The ability to ascertain alpha-Gal epitope removal from a xenogeneic tissue is closely related to the possibility of its quantitative determination. In the past, detection of the alpha-Gal epitope relied on the use of alpha-Gal reactive isolectin molecules and was limited to isolated cells. Recently, the quantitative evaluation of this antigen has been carried out in whole connective tissue through the use of the monoclonal antibody M86. This article provides an overview of the implications of the alpha-Gal epitope in the current clinical scenario and a definitive comparison between the reliability and specificity of isolectines vs. M86 in alpha-Gal determination (read more). Print this post

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