The liver as a solid graft has a known immunological privilege. Its tolerogenic property has been demonstrated in rodents. In humans the onset of chronic rejection and the severity of such complication is less frequent after liver transplantation compared to other organs. The underlying events whose effect is graft acceptance instead of rejection should be further investigated. Their control could open new ways to decrease the need for long-term immunosuppression after transplantation of other organs. Aim of this study is to evaluate a model of liver transplantation in swine as a preliminary step for immunological studies. METHODS: Ten outbred Landrace/Large White mismatched swine underwent to liver transplantation with a simple passive portocaval jugular bypass. The onset of rejection was monitored daily by liver function test. After death or sacrifice the liver parenchyma was studied to evaluate tissue damage and inflammatory infiltrate. RESULTS: The postoperative liver function showed a critical period for organ rejection about postoperative day 5. The animals that survived longer were sacrificed with a normal biochemical hepatic function. However, histology consistently showed a pattern of mild rejection in a still preserved architecture. CONCLUSIONS: The evidence of a prolonged liver function in a rejecting model of liver transplantation makes this model suitable for studies of tolerance induction
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