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Journal of Neural Transplantation and Plasticity
Volume 3 (1992), Issue 2-3, Pages 151-158

Successful Xenografts of Second Trimester Human Fetal Brain and Retinal Tissue in the Anterior Chamber of the Eye of Adult Immunosuppressed Rats

1University of Rochester School of Medicine, Departments of Neurology, Rochester, NY, USA
2University of Rochester School of Medicine, Departments of Pediatrics, Rochester, NY, USA
3University of Rochester School of Medicine, Departments of Microbiology and Immunology, Rochester, NY, USA
4University of Rochester School of Medicine, Departments of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Rochester, NY, USA

Copyright © 1992 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Successful xenografting of first trimester human fetal CNS tissue and retina has been reported in the literature. We wished to test the feasibility ofusing the anterior chamber ofthe rat eye to support the development of more mature human fetal xenografts. Here we report on the successful outcome of human brain and retinal transplants. Adult host rats immunosuppressed with cyclosporin A accepted these xenografts and supported their further development. Periodic examination of the host eyes using a direct ophthalmoscope or an ophthalmic slit lamp permitted direct visual monitoring of the health and growth of the transplants. Histologically it was possible to identify neuronal, macroglial, and microglial (macrophage) cell types within the grafts. Mitotic activity and histogenetic differentiation took place. Blood vessels filled with hematic cells were commonly present within the grafts. The walls of these vessels prevented the leakageofhorseradish peroxidase, suggesting the presence of a functional brain-blood barrier in the graft. These results indicate that it is possible to use a small animal model to study normal and pathological phenomena oniate fetal human neural tissues. Our group has already taken advantage of the model to achieve HIV infectivity offetal human brain outside the human body.