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A study in the organs of mice revealed that the body’s immune memory of a certain transplant that was rejected is not a permanent state. This means that subsequent transplant may be successful.
The study among mice
The study used hearts that were transplanted in mice and then given induced tolerance and then rejection before doing another transplant a week after it was injected of the graft. The result was that the second heart transplant was accepted by the mice’s bodies and remained fully functional during the entire conduct of the study.
In some of the human transplants conducted, immune rejections occur within several days and weeks from the operation and even further transplants were rejected quickly because of the so called immune memory in the person’s body. The immune memory is a state of alert at work in the immune system.
According to Dr. Anita Chong of the University of Chicago, transplantation tolerance seems to be a persistent and resilient state even though it can be overcome. The result of the study conducted proved that indeed the immune memory of transplant rejection is not permanent.
Patients who are in the end-stage of organ failure would be taking in lifelong immune-suppressing drugs in order to prevent the rejection of transplants. Immune tolerance which means that a transplanted organ is readily accepted into the body of a patient without having to experience long-term immunosuppression can be induced in some people. However this procedure is quite complicated.
Even after experiencing some positive long span of time of tolerance, the patient has still the tendency to be triggered with rejection. Rejections are mostly triggered by infection from bacteria and viruses. Medical practitioners assumed that this phenomenon happens because the immune system remembered the rejection that it made and hence prevented tolerance during future transplants.
In the research that was conducted with the laboratory mice, immune tolerance was established but this was then immediately challenged after two months when bacterial infection hit the mice. Transplant rejection was triggered among half of the mice in study.