Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New insights into facial transplantation

Date:
January 17, 2014
Source:
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Summary:
Researchers have demonstrated that immune cells, or T cells, involved in the rejection process are significantly of donor origin.

Red and green highlight the mixture of recipient and donor immune cells during rejection.
Credit: Brigham and Women's Hospital

In 2009, the first face transplant was performed at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), and lead surgeon, Dr. Bohdan Pomahac has been pioneering the procedure since. However, understanding the technical challenges, particularly around how the recipient accepts or rejects the donated face, is just beginning. Following any transplant, including facial transplant, T cells in the recipient mount an immune response to the donated tissue, threatening rejection. This process is successfully managed through immunosupression medication so that the recipient is able to tolerate the transplanted face.

Now, researchers at BWH have made a discovery that provides new insight into the body's rejection process. Researchers have demonstrated that immune cells, or T cells, involved in the rejection process are significantly of donor origin. These findings are published in Modern Pathology on January 17, 2014.

"The conventional belief about face transplant was that rejection is directly related to the recipient T cells attacking the donor T cells of the face, which are perceived as foreign to the recipient's immune system," explained Christine Lian, MD, a skin pathologist at BWH and lead author of this study. "We now need to rethink this process. Based on our findings, it is clear that the donor T cells, which are transferred as part of the new face, play a significant role in the rejection process as well."

The researchers examined 131 face transplant biopsy specimens from a total of five patients who received a face transplant between 2009 and 2013 at BWH. The samples were examined by conventional microscopy for categorizing the level of rejection and guiding immunosuppressant therapy, and additional antibody based biomarkers were also applied. The use of biomarkers allowed the researchers to differentiate between the donor and recipient cells under the microscope. Researchers found that during active rejection episodes, many to most of the immune cells in the face specimens that were involved in the rejection were of donor origin.

"The participation of these donor immune cells in face transplant rejection represents a paradigm shift in the understanding of the rejection process," explained George F. Murphy, MD, director of Dermatopathology at BWH and a senior author of this study. "One intriguing possibility that now exists is that the transplanted faces are not simply passive targets vulnerable to rejection, but carry along with them their own army of immune cells that may defend the face against attacking recipient cells in order to thwart the rejection process," says Murphy.

Researchers note that more studies need to be done to better understand these complex immune cell interactions, but these new findings will help to develop the best diagnostic and therapeutic strategies that, for the first time, will consider include immune cells from the donor as well as the recipient.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brigham and Women's Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Christine Guo Lian, Ericka M Bueno, Scott R Granter, Alvaro C Laga, Arturo P Saavedra, William M Lin, Joseph S Susa, Qian Zhan, Anil K Chandraker, Stefan G Tullius, Bohdan Pomahac, George F Murphy. Biomarker evaluation of face transplant rejection: association of donor T cells with target cell injury. Modern Pathology, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/modpathol.2013.249

Cite This Page:

Brigham and Women's Hospital. "New insights into facial transplantation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140117104027.htm>.
Brigham and Women's Hospital. (2014, January 17). New insights into facial transplantation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140117104027.htm
Brigham and Women's Hospital. "New insights into facial transplantation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140117104027.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Carpenter's Injury Leads To Hundreds Of 3-D-Printed Hands

Carpenter's Injury Leads To Hundreds Of 3-D-Printed Hands

Newsy (Apr. 14, 2014) Richard van As lost all fingers on his right hand in a woodworking accident. Now, he's used the incident to create a prosthetic to help hundreds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins