The recent availability of pigs homozygous for α 1,3-galactosyltransferase gene knockout, and improved immunosuppressive regimens that prevent an elicited antibody response, are expected to contribute to significantly increased survival of pig organs transplanted into primates, bringing clinical trials of xenotransplantation closer. Patients highly sensitized to human leukocyte antigens, who may be precluded from obtaining a human donor organ, would be one group that might benefit from xenotransplantation. However, there have been few studies on whether there is cross-reactivity of anti-human leukocyte antigen antibodies with pig antigens. What data there are suggest that such cross-reactivity exists and that this may be detrimental to the outcome after transplantation of a pig organ. Neither is it known whether sensitization after a pig xenograft would preclude subsequent allotransplantation, although the data available suggest that this will not be the case. Further investigation on allo- and xenoantibody cross-reactivity is required.
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