Clinically, FK506 is superior to CsA after solitary small bowel transplantation (SBTx). Development of diarrhea after SBTx has been the rationale for adding the colon to small bowel grafts. However, the additional lymphoid and bacterial content transferred with total small plus large bowel transplants (TBTx) might aggravate the alloimmune response-rejection and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD)-and increase the risk of infection. We studied the incidence of rejection, GVHD, and infection after TBTx and the impact of CsA versus FK506. We performed orthotopic TBTx with portal drainage after total enterectomy in outbred Yorkshire Landrace pigs, divided into 3 groups: control pigs (n=6) received no immunosuppression; CsA pigs (n= 14) received CsA (5 mg/kg), antilymphocyte globulin (10 mg/kg for 10 days), prednisone (2 mg/kg), and AZA (2.5 mg/kg); and FK506 pigs (n=9) received FK506 (0.2 mg/kg) and prednisone (2 mg/kg). Trough CsA whole blood levels were >400 ng/ml for the first 7 days and >200 ng/ml thereafter. FK506 levels were > 15 ng/ml. We excluded from further analysis 5 early deaths (<3 days) due to anesthesiologic (n=2) or technical reasons (n=3). Median survival of control pigs was 9.5 days (range, 4-13). Cyclosporine did not extend survival: median, 9 days (range, 5-31) (P=0.6). FK506 prolonged survival: median, 37 days (range, 21-49) (P<0.001 vs. control and CsA pigs). Of FK506 pigs, 60% gained weight (+75 g/day), whereas 100% of controls and 75% of CsA pigs lost weight (-550 g/day and -300 g/day, respectively). All control pigs died of rejection within 2 weeks versus none of the FK506 pigs. However, 36% of CsA pigs died of rejection. Groupwise comparison showed less rejection in FK506 versus control pigs (P<0.001) and in FK506 versus CsA pigs (P<0.03), but no difference between CsA and control pigs. None of the control pigs died of GVHD versus 18% of CsA pigs (by day 31) and 37% of FK506 pigs (by day 49). Groupwise comparison showed increased GVHD in FK506 versus control pigs (P<0.001) and a tendency toward increased GVHD in FK506 versus CsA pigs (P=0.08). None of the control pigs died of infection alone versus 22% of CsA pigs (by day 31) and 67% of FK506 pigs (by day 49). Groupwise comparison showed increased infection in FK506 versus control pigs (P<0.001). We detected significant endotoxemia early and late postoperatively. But we saw no specific correlation between endotoxemia, rejection, GVHD, or infection. Based on this study, we have drawn several conclusions: (1) In untreated pigs, TBTx provokes a severe rejection response, but no lethal GVHD. (2) Cyclosporine and particularly FK506 pigs have a high incidence of infection and lethal GVHD, a complication that we bad not seen after solitary SBTx. (3) FK506 is superior to CsA in controlling rejection and in pro-longing graft and recipient survival; FK506, however, does not reduce GVHD, but rather tends to augment it. (4) TBTx causes endotoxemia. As with solitary SBTx, FK506 is superior to CsA after TBTx. However, long-term survival is difficult to achieve in FK506 recipients because of the development of GVHD and infection.
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