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Differentiation of Cellular Reaction to Alloantigens and Bacterial Infection in Human Skin Graft – Immunosuppressive Drugs or Antibiotics

M Moscicka-Wesolowska, W L Olszewski, D Zolich, E Stelmach

Ann Transplant 2002; 7(4): 25-27

ID: 496260


The human hand transplantations prompted revival of interest in evaluation of the rejection process of the grafted skin and its control with the antirejection drugs [1-3]. In case of first hand transplantation a combined immunosuppressive regimen was applied with currently available drugs resulting in acceptance of the entire composite graft. No major untoward systemic effects of antirejection therapy were observed. The most important clinical conclusion was that allogeneic skin can be accepted and function as in a normal extremity, although the attack of host cells on the graft can not be totally eliminated. Chronic perivascular and subepidermal infiltrates with recipient cells could be seen [4]. Another problem connected with skin transplantation is graft infection. Skin is inhabited by a specific spectrum of bacteria [5]. Allografted skin is more sensitive to bacterial penetration than normal skin due to local damage by the host-versus-graft cellular reaction and compromised immune reactivity to bacterial antigens by the immunosuppressive therapy. The histological pictures of rejecting skin represent a mixture of cellular reaction against the graft and penetrating microbes. Alloreaction requires modification of immunosuppressive regimen and infection is an indication for prolonged antibiotic therapy against skin bacterial flora. The question arises how to discriminate the alloreactive and bacterial changes in the skin graft. We studied the histological pictures of rejecting and infected human skin after transplantion to scid mice.

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