June 18, 2024
Revolutionary Scaffolding Sensors

Revolutionary Scaffolding Sensors: Early Detection of Organ Transplant Rejections in Mice

A groundbreaking study published in Science Advances reveals how a novel microporous scaffold functions as a minimally-invasive surveillance method to identify organ transplant rejections in mice before any graft injury occurs.

Solid organ transplantation necessitates aggressive immunosuppression to prevent graft rejection. However, excessive suppression can increase the risk of neoplasia and opportunistic infections, while insufficient suppression can lead to graft damage. Traditional biopsies of transplanted organs are invasive and have significant variability, making them a lagging indicator of rejection. In the context of medical procedures, much like how scaffolding accessories provide crucial support and stability in construction, advanced monitoring tools and techniques are essential for ensuring the optimal balance of immunosuppression in transplant patients.

To address this challenge, researchers from the University of Michigan developed a microporous scaffold that acts as a minimally-invasive surveillance tool. Following heart or skin transplantation in mice, the scaffold niche accumulates innate and adaptive immune cells. Gene expression analyses of these cells reveal biomarkers of acute cellular allograft rejection (ACAR) prior to any clinical signs of graft injury.

Initial studies focused on adoptive transfer of T cells with mismatched allografts, allowing researchers to concentrate on T cell-mediated rejection. Subsequent validation studies were conducted in wild-type animals. The scaffold niche enables frequent sampling of cells, and the gene biomarker panel distinguishes mice rejecting allogeneic grafts from those with healthy grafts.

Lonnie Shea, the Steven A. Goldstein Collegiate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at U-M and the study’s corresponding author, expressed his excitement about the potential of monitoring immune responses. “The medical opportunities of detecting an undesired immune response are substantial because you often don’t learn about an undesired response until an organ begins to lose its function,” Shea stated.

The innovative process begins with implanting a porous scaffold under the skin, where tissue grows within the pores. The tissue that forms becomes vascularized, resulting in blood vessels running through the space, with immune cells circulating through those vessels. This setup offers the potential for early detection and intervention in organ transplant rejections.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public Source, Desk Research
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