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Grants We Funded

Grant applicants for the 2023 cycle requested a total of nearly $4 million dollars. The PSF Study Section Subcommittees of Basic & Translational Research and Clinical Research evaluated nearly 140 grant applications on the following topics:

The PSF awarded research grants totaling over $1 million dollars to support nearly 30 plastic surgery research proposals.

ASPS/PSF leadership is committed to continuing to provide high levels of investigator-initiated research support to ensure that plastic surgeons have the needed research resources to be pioneers and innovators in advancing the practice of medicine.

Research Abstracts

Search The PSF database to have easy access to full-text grant abstracts from past PSF-funded research projects 2003 to present. All abstracts are the work of the Principal Investigators and were retrieved from their PSF grant applications. Several different filters may be applied to locate abstracts specific to a particular focus area or PSF funding mechanism.

IL-2 immunomodulation and topical immunosuppression in CTA

Principal Investigator
Rishi Jindal MD


University of Pittsburgh

Funding Mechanism
Pilot Research Grant

Focus Area
Composite Tissue Allotransplantation, Hand or Upper Extremity

Despite optimum immunosuppression in clinical composite tissue allotransplantation (CTA), long-term graft tolerance remains a hopeful goal. Immunomodulation rather than immunosuppression may prove to be the key to tolerance, with the goal of eliminating or reducing the need for long-term immunosuppression. Anti-lymphocyte serum (ALS) depletion along with cyclosporine (CsA) is widely used in transplantation, but it is not tolerogenic since T-regulatory cells (Tregs) require interleukin-2 (IL-2) for survival and CsA blocks IL-2 transcription and consequent IL-2 dependent regulation. Exogenous IL-2 can prolong graft survival in mouse islet cell transplantation1 and can be similarly used in CTA. Members of our lab previously developed an IL-2 fusion protein (IL-2Fc) with a longer half-life2, which we began testing in CTA. In preliminary studies, 40% of animals that received IL-2Fc+ALS+CsA began to reject the limb at day 40 but then spontaneously recovered and survived >150 days, while the other 60% rejected by day 60. We hypothesize that adding IL-2Fc to ALS+CsA enhances Treg survival and consequent survival of CTA, and the 40% rejection was due to an initial T-effector (Teff) cell response that varied between animals. Adding topical immunosuppressants at the first sign of rejection may thus lead to 100% survival. We will perform orthotopic hind limb transplants in rats to compare IL-2Fc+CsA+ALS versus that regimen plus topical FK506. We will analyze the ratio of T-cells and gene expression patterns to test for variable T-cell responses. These studies will elucidate the mechanism of IL-2Fc-induced graft survival and the efficacy of topical immunosuppression as a graft salvage strategy. The regimen we utilize is similar to that used in clinical transplantation and is thus directly relevant. These data will further our understanding of the complex immunologic reactions that occur with CTA and how the reconstructive surgeon can best manage the patient's graft.

Dr. Rishi Jindal is a recent graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, currently pursuing a two-year research fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Division of Plastic Surgery. Under the guidance of Dr. W. P. Andrew Lee, he is working on various projects in the well-established Composite Tissue Allotransplantation lab. His research focuses on novel strategies to minimize or eliminate long-term immunosuppression for composite tissue allotransplantation, specifically studied in rat, mice, and swine limb transplant models. This grant is Dr. Jindal’s first PSEF-funded award, and he hopes to contribute strong work to the field of Plastic Surgery.