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Natural Killer Cells Found to Play Important Role in Chondrocyte Rejection

Studies indicate that human Natural Killer (NK) cells, part of the innate immune system, play a key role in rejection following xenotransplantation of porcine chondrocytes.

A research team from the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute is investigating porcine chondrocyte transplantation to humans to repair injured cartilage. Under certain conditions, human NK cells destroy foreign cells with toxicity—including chondrocytes. The team seeks to genetically modify porcine chondrocytes such that human NK cells don’t reject them.


IDIBELL researchers take a step forward in transplanting pig cells to regenerate human cartilage. IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute, February 22, 2012.

Multiple Receptors Trigger Human NK Cell-Mediated Cytotoxicity against Porcine Chondrocytes. The Journal of Immunology, March 1, 2012.