Do the cells in a transplanted organ get replaced by your own?

29 July 2007

Question

If someone gets an organ transplant will the cells in the organ eventually get replaced by the patients own cells?

Answer

No they definitely won't. Cystic fibrosis is a good example, when you are suffering from it you can't make the right type of ion channel - a pore in the surface of the cells - which means that the mucus gets really sticky and you can't get it out of your lungs easily. If it gets really bad you can transplant new lungs from a healthy donor and this work fine because they have a healthy copy of the cystic fibrosis gene in their stem cells which are making the lung wall cells, so the cells in the transplant work fine.

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