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Uterus Allo-Transplantation in a Swine Model: Long-Term Graft Survival and Reproductive Function

Xiaoli Zhang, Jiajia Liu, Qiuxiang Wu, Zhongyu Liu, Zhifeng Yan

(Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Chinese People’s Armed Police Force (CAPF) General Hospital, Beijing, China (mainland))

Med Sci Monit 2018; 24:8422-8429

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.913051

BACKGROUND: The present study examined the feasibility and safety of allogeneic uterus transplantation (UTx) from a living donor and assessed long-term graft survival and the resumption of reproductive function in a swine model.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Ten female miniature swine with regular menstrual cycles were used; the animals were either donors or recipients (n=5) depending on the sibling. Retrieval surgery included uterus and uterine arteries together with the anterior branches of the internal iliacs from the living donor; the vaginal canal was cut. After the back-table had been prepared, bilateral internal iliac arteries were anastomosed end-to-side with the external iliac arteries. The transplanted uterus was evaluated based on the arterial blood flow by transabdominal ultrasonography and observed by secondary laparotomy after surgery; estrus recovery was stimulated by mating with a male, and artificial embryo transfer was performed in healing swine.
RESULTS: All 5 pigs revealed successful surgery without any surgical complications, injuries to other organs, or unanticipated vascular injury. All recipients survived for >3 months after the surgery, except pig 5, which died due to uterus necrosis 3 days post-surgery. A 100% surgical success rate and 80% long-term survival rate of the receptor were observed. Pig 2 had temporary estrus resumed, and the artificial embryo was transplanted 3 months after surgery; however, apparent gestation was not found by ultrasonography.
CONCLUSIONS: This study evaluated the safety and feasibility of the technology of allogeneic UTx, which was performed only by transplant uterine artery system from living-donor surgery in a swine model. Laboratory animals can show long-term survival and resumed estrous after UTx, which can be monitored by ultrasonography to assess the arterial blood flow of the grafted uterus.

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