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Cytokine storm syndrome after anti-thymoglobulin infusion in a cynomolgus monkey with systemic lymphadenopathy caused by follicular hyperplasia: A case report.

Nonhuman primates are widely used in transplantation research as preclinical xeno- or allo-transplantation models. Rabbit anti-thymoglobulin (ATG) is often used for T-cell depletion as an immunosuppressant. T-cell depletion can cause a secondary cytokine storm syndrome that can be minimized/prevented by a prophylactic administration of systemic corticosteroids and antihistamines. We report a case of death due to CSS in a cynomolgus monkey with follicular hyperplasia-induced systemic lymphadenopathy after ATG administration. A 6-year-old female cynomolgus monkey was rendered diabetic and then transplanted with a genetically modified porcine pancreatic islets (PPI) (50 000 IEQ/kg) through the portal vein 22 days later without immunosuppressant. Because graft function was not comparable, we planned re-transplantation of PPI. For re-transplantation of the PPI, we performed an intravenous (IV) ATG infusion for inductive immunosuppression. The monkey died 3 h and 30 min after ATG administration despite cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Systemic lymphadenopathy was observed on submandibular, axillary, inguinal, foregut, colic, and hilar lymph nodes, and splenomegaly was also observed on necropsy. Histopathologic examination of the lymph node revealed follicular hyperplasia. The IL-6 level was higher after ATG infusion compared to before ATG infusion (before vs. after ATG infusion; 14.9 vs. >5000 pg/mL). The death of the cynomolgus monkey was caused by severe CSS because of apoptosis of B cells in the systemic lymph nodes caused by the ATG administration. A thorough physical examination of palpable lymph nodes and pre-ATG sonographic or computed tomographic screening could have identified lymphadenopathy, potentially preventing its infusion and reducing mortality risk.

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