Previous papers have shown surgical neoangiogenesis to allow long-term bone allotransplant survival without immunosuppression. Whole joint composite tissue allotransplants (CTA) might be treated similarly. A novel rat knee CTA model is described for further study of the roles of neoangiogensis in joint allotransplant survival and adjustment of immunosuppression. Microvascular knee CTA was performed in nine rats across a major histocompatibility barrier with both pedicle repair and implantation of host-derived arteriovenous ("a/v") bundles. In the control group (N = 3), the pedicle was ligated. Immunosuppression was given daily. Joint mobility, weight-bearing, pedicle patency, bone blood flow, and sprouting from a/v bundles were assessed at 3 weeks. All but the nonrevascularized control knees had full passive motion and full weight bearing. One nutrient pedicle thrombosed prematurely. Blood flow was measurable in transplants with patent nutrient pedicles. Implanted a/v bundles produced new vascular networks on angiography. This new rat microsurgical model permits further study of joint allotransplantation. Patency of both pedicles and implanted a/v bundles was maintained, laying a foundation for future studies.
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