A rat model of pregnancy-induced sensitization to transplants

Z. Qian, J. Liu, K. Fox-Talbot, B. A. Wasowska, W. M. Baldwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous pregnancy is a known risk factor for alloantibody production and graft rejection in clinical transplantation. However, in previous rat models, immune responses to RT1.A antigens induced by allogeneic pregnancy resulted in prolonged survival of subsequent allografts. This study was designed to investigate the effects of a previous pregnancy on alloantibody response, complement activation, and allograft survival in a highly immunogenic rat strain combination. C6-sufficient and -deficient female PVG.1U (RT1.A uBu) rats were mated with allogeneic PVG.R8 (RT1.A aBu) males or control isogeneic PVG.1U (RT1.A uBu) males. Three weeks after parturition, experimental and control females received cardiac allografts from female PVG.R8 donors. A low dose of cyclosporine (CsA, 5 mg/kg on alternate days) was used for immunosuppression after transplantation. Allogeneic, but not control isogeneic, pregnancy elicited a weak, transient IgG alloantibody response that declined before transplantation. Experimental female recipients produced a rapid, vigorous IgM and IgG alloantibody response to the transplant despite CsA treatment. C6-sufficient recipients rejected their transplants at an accelerated rate (5 days, n = 6) compared with control animals (7 days, n = 5). In contrast, allografts to C6-deficient recipients functioned until sacrifice at 90 days in both the experimental group (n = 7) and control group (n = 4). Most experimental C6-deficient recipients continued to produce strong IgG alloantibodies for 90 days. Complement activation resulting from the alloantibody response was evidenced by the diffuse deposition of C3d on the vascular endothelium of the grafts. In summary, previous pregnancy leads to memory alloantibody responses that accelerate allograft rejection even with immunosuppression. Membrane attack complex is required for accelerated rejection induced by previous preganancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-97
Number of pages2
JournalTransplantation Proceedings
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Transplantation


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