Skin Graft Immune Response

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Most people think of organs like the heart, kidney, lung, and liver when they think of transplants, but skin grafting is just as common in the medical field. Skin grafting is the transplantation of skin to another part of the body. Skin harvesting and transplantation techniques began nearly 3000 years ago with the Hindu Tilemaker Caste, where they used skin grafting to rebuild noses that were cut off from judicial punishment (Grande & Mezebish, 2008). In the mid 1900s, rodents were used to study skin grafting techniques in the name of medicine (Abbas & Lichtman, 2009). Now-a-days, skin grafting is a very common dermatologic surgery. It can be used for burn victims with thinned tissues, to cover cutaneous ulcers that won’t heal, to restore areas of hair loss, and to restore any area of defective skin (Grande & Mezebish, 2008). Skin grafting used to be very problematic because of the body’s negative immune response, but with advances in science and medicine, skin grafting techniques and acceptance have come a long way. The immune system functions to protect the body against actual or potential disease or illness. Anything not recognized a part of the body it protects, causes the immune system to initiates steps to attack the foreign invader. This is a significant problem in terms of skin grafting. Identical twins are syngeneic because they have the exact same DNA, so skin grafting would not be a problem in that case (Abbas & Lichtman, 2009). With that said, most humans are allogeneic, meaning we differ even though we are of the same species (Abbas & Lichtman, 2009). Being that we differ, this causes graft rejection when skin graft transplantation is attempted. The interesting thing about humans is that we express six class I Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) alleles and a minimum of six class II MHC alleles (Abbas & Lichtman, 2009). MHC genes are extremely polymorphic, so they can be inherited and expressed in numerous combinations (Abbas & Lichtman, 2009)....
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