Development and analysis of transgenic mice expressing porcine hematopoietic cytokines: a model for achieving durable porcine hematopoietic chimerism across an extensive xenogeneic barrier.
The capacity of mixed hematopoietic chimerism to induce tolerance has not been demonstrated in discordant xenogeneic species combinations because of the difficulty in achieving lasting hematopoietic engraftment. In an effort to create a model of long-lasting disparate xenogeneic hematopoietic chimerism, we have developed transgenic (Tg) mice carrying porcine cytokines. Three lines of Tg mice were generated: one carrying porcine IL-3 and GM-CSF genes only (termed IL/GM) and the remaining two lines carrying in addition, the soluble SCF gene (termed IL/GM/sS) or membrane-bound SCF gene (termed IL/GM/mS). Sera from mice with IL/GM and IL/GM/sS transgenes markedly stimulated the proliferation of swine marrow cells in vitro. However, proliferation of swine marrow cells was not induced in cultures containing IL/GM/mS sera. Consistent with these observations, ELISA assays revealed detectable levels of porcine cytokines in the sera of IL/ GM and IL/GM/sS, but not in sera of IL/GM/mS Tg mice. Marrow stromal cells prepared from all three kinds of Tg mice, but not those from non-Tg littermates, were capable of supporting the growth of porcine hematopoietic cells in vitro. Immunodeficient Tg mice were generated by crossing Tg founders with C.B-17 SCID mice for five generations. All Tg immunodeficient mice showed improved porcine hematopoietic engraftment compared with non-Tg controls. These Tg mice provide a useful model system for studying porcine hematopoietic stem cells, and for evaluating the feasibility of donor-specific tolerance induction by mixed chimerism across highly disparate xenogeneic barriers.