Evaluation of different α-galactosyl glycoconjugates for use in xenotransplantation

Guerard W. Byrne, Alexander Schwarz, Joanna R. Fesi, Patrick Birch, Anna Nepomich, Ivona Bakaj, Margaret A. Velardo, Cong Jiang, Adriana Manzi, Howard Dintzis, Lisa E. Diamond, John S. Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Porcine organs are rapidly rejected after transplantation into primate recipients due to the presence of preexisting immunoglobulins that bind to terminal galactose α1,3 galactose residues (α-galactosyl) present on porcine glycoproteins and glycolipids. Currently available immunosuppressive reagents have been largely ineffective at controlling the synthesis of these anti-Gal antibodies. Nonantigenic hapten polymers have been shown to be effective materials for blocking humoral immune responses in various model systems. We have developed a series of α-galactosyl glycoconjugate polymers and tested their ability to block anti-Gal antibody binding in vitro and in vivo. A galactose α1,3 galactose β 1,4 GlcNAc trisaccharide free acid (TRFA) with a hexanoic acid spacer, containing five methylene groups and a carboxylic acid, was produced and coupled to a variety of polymeric backbones including dextran, branched poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG), and poly-L-lysine. The ability of monomeric TRFA and the α-galactosyl conjugates to block anti-Gal IgG and IgM binding was determined using a competition ELISA assay on defined HSA-Gal glycoconjugates and porcine microvascular endothelial cell substrates. We show that branched PEG carriers, with a TRFA sugar attached to each branch, exhibit enhanced antibody blocking ability compared to TRFA, but at higher target antigen densities these simple PEG conjugates are no more effective then an equivalent amount of TRFA in blocking anti-Gal IgM antibody interactions. In contrast, polymers of the branched PEG conjugates and linear conjugates made using dextran and poly-L-lysine were 2000 to 70000-fold more effective inhibitors of anti-Gal antibodies. In a study using nonhuman primates, a single dose infusion of polymeric PEG or dextran glycoconjugates dramatically reduced the level of circulating anti-Gal antibodies in cynomologus monkeys for at least 72 h. Glycoconjugates similar to these might be useful both to block anti-Gal interactions in vivo and to specifically control the induced anti-Gal immune response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-581
Number of pages11
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry


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