A History of Medicine in 50 Discoveries by Marguerite Vigliani

A History of Medicine in 50 Discoveries by Marguerite Vigliani

Author:Marguerite Vigliani
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers
Published: 2017-12-09T16:00:00+00:00

Microchimerism and Transplant Surgery

DIn 1992, Dr. Thomas Starzl discovered that white blood cells from donors were still found in the blood and tissues of humans who had undergone successful transplant surgery three to twenty-nine years before.23 The presence of two types of white blood cells in organ recipients is called microchimerism. Microchimerism also occurs during pregnancy, when cells from the baby cross over into the mother’s circulation.

There is two-way traffic of immune cells between the mother and fetus.

Microchimerism is frequently found in transplant recipients who develop tolerance to their transplanted organs. It shows that there is a dynamic equilibrium between the resident immune system of the host and the imported immune cells that came with the donor transplant. This phenomenon is most common in liver transplant patients, perhaps because the liver contains many immune cells that can migrate from the organ to the recipient’s lymphatic tissue. Understanding this dynamic equilibrium between donor and recipient has allowed doctors to use less toxic doses of anti-rejection medication once the recipient has developed tolerance to the transplant.


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