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ScienceDaily (Apr. 22, 1999) — WASHINGTON, D.C., April 21, 1999 -- Organ rejection occurs less often and is less severe in patients who receive infusions of bone marrow from the same donor, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh's Thomas E. Stael Transplantation Institute report today at Experimental Biology ‘99. Their findings, which represent six years of study of patients who received the extra boost of donor immune system cells, indicate the procedure is safe and augments the cellular environment that the research team believes is necessary for longtime acceptance of a transplanted organ. By giving donor bone marrow, the researchers aim was to enhance the cellular environment called chimerism, defined as the coexistence of recipient and donor immune cells. Having already proved that chimerism is present in longtime survivors of organ transplants, some of whom have been weaned from a lifelong regimen of omnipresent drugs, researchers wanted to promote, even hasten this biological process with bone marrow. "We believe chimerism is a prerequisite for but not synonymous with longtime acceptance of the donor organ. Achieving a stable chimeric state is the first step to longtime tolerance," says Dr. Ra.
The recipient can unintentionally acquire immune cells from the organ donor. It has been found doing this deliberately, by transplanting bone marrow (the origin of immune cells) with the organ, decreases the chance that the transplanted organ will be rejected...
Geoff asked the Naked Scientists:I'm curious as to whether the organ mounts any kind of immune response against the recipient
Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a common complication of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation in which functional immune cells in the transplanted marrow recognize the recipient as "foreign" and mount an immunologic attack.