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Beiras-Fernandez, Andres; Hernandez-Sierra, Astrid; Schulz, Uwe; Richter, Manfred; Thein, Eckart; Moritz, Anton; Werner, Isabella (2016): Binding of ATGs to Endothelial Cells In Vivo. In: Annals of Transplantation, Vol. 21: pp. 311-316
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Abstract

Background: Polyclonal anti-thymocyte globulins (ATGs) are immunosuppressive drugs widely used in induction of immunosuppression and treatment of acute rejection after solid organ transplantation. We have previously demonstrated that ATGs bind to endothelial cells in vitro, and are able to modulate ECs. The aim of this study was to investigate the binding of ATGs to endothelial cells under in vivo conditions. Material/Methods: Muscle biopsies from extremities of cynomolgus monkeys were obtained after ischemia/reperfusion at 4 degrees C. ATGs (Thymoglobulin, Sanofi-Aventis, France;1 mg/kg) were added to the blood 30 min prior to the reperfusion. Biopsies (n=10) of patients undergoing heart transplantation and preoperatively treated with ATGs (Thymoglobulin, Sanofi-Aventis, France;1.5 mg/kg) as induction therapy were also analyzed 6 hours and 7 days after induction. Binding of ATGs to ECs was analyzed with an anti-rabbit IgG antibody by means of immunohistochemistry. Results: Binding of ATGs to endothelial cells could be demonstrated in vivo in our animal experiments 4 hours after reperfusion, as well as in the clinical biopsies 6 hours after induction of immunosuppression in heart transplant patients, showing a preferred localization in post-capillary veins. No expression of ATGs on the endothelial surface could be observed after 7 days, suggesting that ATGs may be washed out from the endothelial surface in a time-dependent manner. Conclusions: Our results show that ATGs are able to bind to endothelial cells in an experimental model and in clinical practice, supporting preconditioning strategies with ATGs in solid organ transplantation.