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Researchers Develop First Mouse Model of Lung Transplantation

nd their genes are easier to manipulate.

With the mice, we can selectively delete genes to study their function in the transplanted lung or in the recipient, which weve not been able to do effectively in other animal models, said Andrew Gelman, Ph.D., an assistant professor of surgery, who is a lead investigator of this research.

By understanding the genes that control lung graft survival, researchers will be able to better guide the development of therapies to counteract chronic rejection, he added.

The mouse model also will allow the researchers to investigate how other transplant-related complications affect the long-term success of the procedure. Many lung transplant patients experience gastric reflux, and doctors suspect this acid exposure damages the lining of the lung and further exposes the organ to pathogens. The mouse model will let researchers evaluate whether gastric reflux increases the risk of lung rejection.

Additionally, the time between surgery to harvest a donor lung and transplant it into a patient is widely suspected to affect its overall function after transplant surgery. The mouse model will help pinpoint the inflammation that underlies damage to the organ when it cant be transplanted quickly and may lead to ways to prevent such injury.

Based on mouse models of other solid organ transplants, researchers have learned that different groups of immune cells contribute to rejection in different organs.

Rejection of the lung differs from rejection of the heart in terms of the cells that participate in that rejection, said Alexander Sasha Krupnick, M.D., assistant professor of surgery.

Every organ is different. What weve learned about rejection of the heart in mice does not apply to lungs. So we are thrilled to finally have an acceptable mouse model of lung transplantation to help us discover ways to increase the success of these transplants in humans,
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