General Question

AstroChuck's avatar

Could your body accept its old organ without anti-rejection medication after it's been in another body?

Asked by AstroChuck (37566points) July 29th, 2008 from iPhone

I realize that this isn’t a likely scenario but…
Suppose you donated a kidney to a friend and later had renal problems and you had to have your remaining kidney removed. Your friend is heading to the hospital to visit you and on the way is fatally injured in an automobile accident. It just so happens he was carrying a donor card. So you end up with your old kidney back. Do you need to take anti-rejection drugs since it’s been in another body or are you spared this as it once was a part of you?

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10 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Yes, I don’t think it would have been changed. It does seem highly unlikely though.

“Transplant rejection is caused by the body’s immune response to foreign material. The body naturally tends to attempt to destroy encountered foreign matter. As a result, those who receive transplants are given transplant rejection medications that reduce the body’s immune response.”


AstroChuck's avatar

Yeah but since it has been “contaminated” in a different body don’t you think it my have gone through some changes?
Where’s Shilolo when you need him?

drhat77's avatar

Depends. Some organs will harbor lymphocytes for a long period of time. Theorectically, an organ can be returned to your own body, with the previous hosts lymphocytes, and then those lymphocytes will start attacking you – your old organ will reject you.

And you thought the wrath of a woman scorned was bad.

drhat77's avatar

@astrocuck what am i chopped liver?

(no offence shilolo you rock!)

shilolo's avatar

None taken. Great answer by the way, though graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is typically a “problem” of bone marrow transplants (BMT) and not solid organ transplants. I put the word “problem” in quotes, because a small amount of GVHD is probably an important component of the success of BMT (the new, healthy bone marrow continually attacks the original, unhealthy, malignant bone marrow).

AstroChuck's avatar

Sorry. I thought drhat77 was just a clever handle.
Now, what the hell are you saying? It is possible in some situations to do without the medication?

gailcalled's avatar

Two docs?. That means that we can now get second opinions.

@drhat77: you’ll have to go some to beat shilolo’s avatar. His gets best-in-breed (even tho at first I thought he was a conehead.)

Lightlyseared's avatar

theoretically no.
In practice they would follow the ussual protocol and administer the anti rejections meds altering the dose till they have the minimum required to maintain adequate renal function.

drhat77's avatar

@astrochuck there isn’t a likely scenario where you’d have your own organ returned to you, but i think if it happened they wouldn’t start out with anti-rejection meds. if for some reason the previous hosts lymphocytes attacked you, then they might put you on antirejection meds

AstroChuck's avatar

I realize this scenario is purely hypothetical. But strange situations do tend to present themselves all the time. I’ve heard of stranger things that have happened.

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