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To: Essay Grads

Re: The potential use of animal-human chimeras in human medicine. 

Thank you Professor Danson and the entire crew from for introducing the advantages of human–animal chimeras over other in-vitro methods in studying biological mechanisms. Graft versus host disease (GVHD) is a complicated area of transplant medicine that has always presented drawbacks in understanding organ rejection. I came across an article by King et al. (2009) that reports on the chimera-based study of GVHD. In the experiment, NOD-scid IL2rγnull mice were irradiated with 2 Gy and later intravenously injected with Peripheral Blood Monocytes (PBMC). The mice were then observed for development of GVHD symptoms like hunched posture, immobility, and tachypnea. Total body irradiation of experimental mice is associated with graft acceptance (Cui et al., 2002). This study thus sought to understand the effects of radiation preconditioning in the precipitation of xenogeneic GVHD. From its findings, mice that received both irradiation and PBMC survived for a median of 11 days as compared to those that received Peripheral Blood Monocytes alone. These findings that contradict earlier studies that propose an inverse relationship between GVHD and irradiation.

Additionally, the study helped to elucidate the histopathological and hematological changes associated with GVHD. The spleen and the liver specifically exhibited significant infiltration of CD45 mononuclear cells (King et al., 2009). This study also reveals that irradiation reduces mononuclear cell infiltration of vital organs. Through hematological analyses, the study shows significant hematopoietic suppression in mice treated with both irradiation and transplanted with human monocytes. This hematopoietic suppression results in reduced hematocrit and hemoglobin levels in the test mice (King et al., 2009). This study gives important insights in preventing and mitigating human GVHD. The health practitioners should thus understand the intervention measures to take whenever transplant patients develop GVHD.