Thymus transplantation is a form of organ transplantation where the thymus is moved from one body to another.
Thymus transplantation can be used to treat infants with DiGeorge syndrome, which results in an absent or hypoplastic thymus, in turn causing problems with the immune system's T-cell mediated response. It is exclusively used in people with complete DiGeorge anomaly, which are entirely athymic. This subgroup represents less than 1% of DiGeorge syndrome patients.
Nezelof syndrome is another thymus-related disease where it can be used.
A study of 54 DiGeorge syndrome infants resulted in all tested subjects having developed polyclonal T-cell repertoires and proliferative responses to mitogens. The procedure was well tolerated and resulted in stable immunoreconstitution in these infants. It had a survival rate of 75%, having a follow-up as long as 13 years.
Complications include an increased susceptibility to infections while the T cells have not yet developed, rashes and erythema.
Theoretically, thymus transplantation could cause two types of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD): First, it could cause a donor T cell-related GVHD, because of T cells from the donor that are present in the transplanted thymus that recognizes the recipient as foreign. Donor T cells can be detected in the recipient after transplantation, but there is no evidence of any donor T cell-related graft-versus-host disease.
Second, a thymus transplantation can cause a non-donor T cell-related GVHD because the recipients thymocytes would use the donor thymus cells as models when going through the negative selection to recognize self-antigens, and could therefore still mistake own structures in the rest of the body for being non-self. This is a rather indirect GVHD because it is not directly cells in the graft itself that causes it, but cells in the graft that make the recipient's T cells act like donor T cells. It would also be of relatively late-onset because it requires the formation of new T cells. It can be seen as a multiple-organ autoimmunity in xenotransplantation experiments of the thymus between different species.Autoimmune disease is a frequent complication after human allogeneic thymus transplantation, found in 42% of subjects over 1 year post transplantation. However, this is partially explained by that the indication itself, that is, complete DiGeorge syndrome, increases the risk of autoimmune disease.
The thymus is a specialized primary lymphoid organ of the immune system. Within the thymus, thymus cell lymphocytes or T cells mature. T cells are critical to the adaptive immune system, where the body adapts specifically to foreign invaders. The thymus is located in the upper front part of the chest, in the anterior superior mediastinum, behind the sternum, and in front of the heart. It is made up of two lobes, each consisting of a central medulla and an outer cortex, surrounded by a capsule.
Autoimmunity is the system of immune responses of an organism against its own healthy cells, tissues and other body normal constituents. Any disease that results from such an aberrant immune response is termed an "autoimmune disease". Prominent examples include celiac disease, post-infectious IBS, diabetes mellitus type 1, Henloch Scholein Pupura (HSP) sarcoidosis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Sjögren syndrome, eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Graves' disease, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, Addison's disease, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis, polymyositis (PM), dermatomyositis (DM) and multiple sclerosis (MS). Autoimmune diseases are very often treated with steroids.
Immunosuppression is a reduction of the activation or efficacy of the immune system. Some portions of the immune system itself have immunosuppressive effects on other parts of the immune system, and immunosuppression may occur as an adverse reaction to treatment of other conditions.
A T cell is a type of lymphocyte. T cells are one of the important white blood cells of the immune system and play a central role in the adaptive immune response. T cells can be easily distinguished from other lymphocytes by the presence of a T-cell receptor (TCR) on their cell surface.
Transplant rejection occurs when transplanted tissue is rejected by the recipient's immune system, which destroys the transplanted tissue. Transplant rejection can be lessened by determining the molecular similitude between donor and recipient and by use of immunosuppressant drugs after transplant.
Anti-thymocyte globulin (ATG) is an infusion of horse or rabbit-derived antibodies against human T cells and their precursors (thymocytes), which is used in the prevention and treatment of acute rejection in organ transplantation and therapy of aplastic anemia.
Hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT) is the transplantation of multipotent hematopoietic stem cells, usually derived from bone marrow, peripheral blood, or umbilical cord blood. It may be autologous, allogeneic or syngeneic.
Graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) is a syndrome, characterized by inflammation in different organs. GvHD is commonly associated with bone marrow transplants and stem cell transplants.
Immunodeficiency, also known as immunocompromisation, is a state in which the immune system's ability to fight infectious diseases and cancer is compromised or entirely absent. Most cases are acquired ("secondary") due to extrinsic factors that affect the patient's immune system. Examples of these extrinsic factors include HIV infection and environmental factors, such as nutrition. Immunocompromisation may also be due to genetic diseases/flaws. An example here is SCID.
FOXP3, also known as scurfin, is a protein involved in immune system responses. A member of the FOX protein family, FOXP3 appears to function as a master regulator of the regulatory pathway in the development and function of regulatory T cells. Regulatory T cells generally turn the immune response down. In cancer, an excess of regulatory T cell activity can prevent the immune system from destroying cancer cells. In autoimmune disease, a deficiency of regulatory T cell activity can allow other autoimmune cells to attack the body's own tissues.
Omenn syndrome is an autosomal recessive severe combined immunodeficiency. It is associated with hypomorphic missense mutations in immunologically relevant genes of T-cells such as recombination activating genes, Interleukin-7 receptor-α (IL7Rα), DCLRE1C-Artemis, RMRP-CHH, DNA-Ligase IV, common gamma chain, WHN-FOXN1, ZAP-70 and complete DiGeorge syndrome. It is fatal without treatment.
DiGeorge syndrome, also known as 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, is a syndrome caused by the deletion of a small segment of chromosome 22. While the symptoms can vary, they often include congenital heart problems, specific facial features, frequent infections, developmental delay, learning problems and cleft palate. Associated conditions include kidney problems, hearing loss and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or Graves' disease.
X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency (X-SCID) is an immunodeficiency disorder in which the body produces very few T cells and NK cells.
Immune tolerance, or immunological tolerance, or immunotolerance, is a state of unresponsiveness of the immune system to substances or tissue that have the capacity to elicit an immune response in a given organism. It is induced by prior exposure to that specific antigen and contrasts with conventional immune-mediated elimination of foreign antigens. Tolerance is classified into central tolerance or peripheral tolerance depending on where the state is originally induced—in the thymus and bone marrow (central) or in other tissues and lymph nodes (peripheral). The mechanisms by which these forms of tolerance are established are distinct, but the resulting effect is similar.
A Thymocyte is an immune cell present in the thymus, before it undergoes transformation into a T cell. Thymocytes are produced as stem cells in the bone marrow and reach the thymus via the blood. Thymopoiesis describes the process which turns thymocytes into mature T cells according to either negative or positive selection. This selection process is vitally important in shaping the population of thymocytes into a peripheral pool of T cells that are able to respond to foreign pathogens but remain tolerant towards the body's own antigens. Positive selection selects cells which are able to bind MHC class I or II molecules with at least a weak affinity. This eliminates those T cells which would be non-functional due to an inability to bind MHC. Negative selection destroys thymocytes with a high affinity for self peptides or MHC. This eliminates cells which would direct immune responses towards self-proteins in the periphery. Negative selection is not 100% effective, and some autoreactive T cells escape and are released into the circulation. Additional mechanisms of peripheral tolerance exist to silence these cells, but if these fail, autoimmunity may arise.
Minor histocompatibility antigen are receptors on the cellular surface of donated organs that are known to give an immunological response in some organ transplants. They cause problems of rejection less frequently than those of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Minor histocompatibility antigens (MiHAs) are diverse, short segments of proteins and are referred to as peptides. These peptides are normally around 9-12 amino acids in length and are bound to both the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and class II proteins. Peptide sequences can differ among individuals and these differences arise from SNPs in the coding region of genes, gene deletions, frameshift mutations, or insertions. About a third of the characterized MiHAs come from the Y chromosome. The proteins are composed of a single immunogenic HLA allele. Prior to becoming a short peptide sequence, the proteins expressed by these polymorphic or diverse genes need to be digested in the proteasome into shorter peptides. These endogenous or self peptides are then transported into the endoplasmic reticulum with a peptide transporter pump called TAP where they encounter and bind to the MHC class I molecule. This contrasts with MHC class II molecules's antigens which are peptides derived from phagocytosis/endocytosis and molecular degradation of non-self entities' proteins, usually by antigen-presenting cells. MiHA antigens are either ubiquitously expressed in most tissue like skin and intestines or restrictively expressed in the immune cells.
Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML) is a serious chronic leukemia that affects children mostly aged 4 and younger. The name JMML now encompasses all diagnoses formerly referred to as juvenile chronic myeloid leukemia (JCML), chronic myelomonocytic leukemia of infancy, and infantile monosomy 7 syndrome. The average age of patients at diagnosis is 2 years old. The World Health Organization has included JMML in the category of myelodysplastic and myeloproliferative disorders.
Transplantable organs and tissues may both refer to organs and tissues that are relatively often or routinely transplanted, as well as relatively seldom transplanted organs and tissues and ones on the experimental stage.
Microtransplantation(MST) is an advanced technology to treat malignant hematological diseases and tumors by infusing patients with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) mobilized human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-mismatched allogeneic peripheral blood stem cells following a reduced-intensity chemotherapy or targeted therapy. The term "microtransplantation" comes from its mechanism of reaching donor cell microchimerism. Chemotherapy is used by lower doses only to destroy cancer and partially suppress patient’s immune system, which will be reinitiated by donor’s stem cells soon after transplantation, and will play a role as recipient-versus-tumor (RVT) effect combining donor cells’ graft-versus-tumor (GVT) effect. Donor’s stem cells, which have been processed, will also accelerate functional recovery of recipient’s hematopoietic stem cells, greatly reducing infections and transplant-related mortality. Practices of microtransplantation has shown none graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) till present, thus immunosuppressive drugs for relieving GVHD wouldn't be necessary. Possible mechanisms of the successful avoidance of GVHD include donor cell microchimerism, less-toxic cells processed prior to transplantation, and the preservation of host immune system that is capable of resisting the GVH alloresponse. Moreover, as HLA-mismatched stem cells are employed, donor availability is extremely extended.
T-cell depletion (TCD) is the process of T cell removal or reduction, which alters the immune system and its response. Depletion can occur naturally or be induced for treatment purposes. TCD can reduce the risk of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), which is a common issue in transplants. The idea that TCD of the allograft can eliminate GVHD was first introduced in 1958. In humans the first TCD was performed in severe combined immunodeficiency patients.