A long-standing medical discussion about how transplanted organs survive in a new body has received provocative new evidence from Mayo Clinic research. It shows a donated kidney survives in a new body by turning on a protective mechanism to shield it from the hostile environment of the patients immune system. The results are published in this months American Journal of Transplantation.
Says Mark Stegall, M.D., head of the transplant team that studied kidney genes response to transplantation, "The big question has always been: Why dont the antibodies injure the kidney? Our study begins to show one possible reason for that -- theres a protective mechanism at work."
In the study, the Mayo Clinic team analyzed which genes are turned on during the biological phenomenon known as "accommodation" -- the process by which a transplanted organ adapts to the new environment of the donors body. Accommodation was first described 20 years ago by Jeffrey Platt, M.D., a Mayo Clinic transplant biologist and co-author of this current Mayo Clinic study.
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