Interleukin-8 mediates neutrophil-endothelial interactions in pig-to-human xenogeneic models

Beth M. French, Selin Sendil, Krishna Mohan Sepuru, Jolene Ranek, Lars Burdorf, Donald Harris, Emily Redding, Xiangfei Cheng, Christopher T. Laird, Yuming Zhao, Benjamin Cerel, Krishna Rajarathnam, Richard N. Pierson, Agnes M. Azimzadeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Human neutrophils are sequestered by pig lung xenografts within minutes during ex vivo perfusion. This phenomenon is not prevented by pig genetic modifications that remove xeno-antigens or added human regulatory molecules intended to down-regulate activation of complement and coagulation pathways. This study investigated whether recipient and donor interleukin-8 (IL-8), a chemokine known to attract and activate neutrophils during inflammation, is elaborated in the context of xenogeneic injury, and whether human or pig IL-8 promote the adhesion of human neutrophils in in vitro xenograft models. Methods: Plasma levels of pig, human or non-human primate (NHP) IL-8 from ex vivo pig lung perfusion experiments (n = 10) and in vivo pig-to-baboon lung transplantation in baboons (n = 22) were analysed by ELISA or Luminex. Human neutrophils stimulated with human or pig IL-8 were analysed for CD11b expression, CD18 activation, oxidative burst and adhesion to resting or TNF-activated endothelial cells (EC) evaluated under static and flow (Bioflux) conditions. For some experiments, human neutrophils were incubated with Reparixin (IL-8/CXCL8 receptor blocker) and then analysed as in the in vitro experiments mentioned above. Results: Plasma levels of pig IL-8 (~6113 pg/mL) increased more than human (~1235 pg/mL) between one and four hours after initiation of ex vivo lung perfusion. However, pig IL-8 levels remained consistently low (<60 pg/mL) and NHP IL-8 plasma levels increased by ~2000 pg/mL after four hours in a pig-to-baboon lung xenotransplantation. In vitro, human neutrophils’ CD11b expression, CD18 activation and oxidative burst all increased in a dose-dependent manner following exposure to either pig or human IL-8, which also were associated with increased adhesion to EC in both static and flow conditions. Reparixin inhibited human neutrophil activation by both pig and human IL-8 in a dose-dependent fashion. At 0.1 mg/mL, Reparixin inhibited the adhesion of IL-8-activated human neutrophils to pAECs by 84 ± 2.5%. Conclusions: Pig IL-8 increased in an ex vivo model of pig-to-human lung xenotransplantation but is not detected in vivo, whereas human or NHP IL-8 is elevated to a similar degree in both models. Both pig and human IL-8 activate human neutrophils and increase their adhesion to pig aortic ECs, a process significantly inhibited by the addition of Reparixin to human neutrophils. This work implicates IL-8, whether of pig or human origin, as a possible factor mediating in lung xenograft inflammation and injury and supports the evaluation of therapeutic targeting of this pathway in the context of xenotransplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12385
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • cell adhesion
  • chemokines
  • endothelial cells
  • interleukin-8
  • lung
  • neutrophils
  • xenotransplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Transplantation


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