Current Transplantation Reports

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 226–237 | Cite as

Newer Immunosuppression and Strategies on the Horizon in Heart Transplantation

  • Kaspar BrochEmail author
  • Einar Gude
  • Arne K. Andreassen
  • Lars Gullestad
Thoracic Transplantation (J Kobashigawa, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Thoracic Transplantation


Purpose of Review

Balanced immunosuppressive therapy is the key to long-term survival after allograft transplantation. With a worldwide median recipient/graft survival of more than 11 years, heart transplantation is a highly successful treatment for selected patients with end-stage heart failure. However, current immunosuppressive regimens are associated with adverse effects. In the balance between acute rejection, cardiac allograft vasculopathy, infections and an increased risk of malignancy, there is room for improvement. The aim of this review article is to present an overview of immunosuppressive mechanisms and new immune therapy strategies in heart transplantation and to highlight emerging approaches in this field that may influence our immunosuppressive strategies in the future.

Recent Findings

Calcineurin inhibitors have been the central drug class in post-transplant immunosuppressive regimens. New trials have explored alternative drugs, such as inhibitors of mechanistic target of rapamycin and belatacept. There is ongoing research on the development of strategies to induce long-term allograft tolerance.


This review briefly introduces allograft rejection immunology, and sums up contemporary immunosuppressive strategies with emphasis on the development of calcineurin inhibitor-sparing regimens and the prospect of achieving long-term tolerance.


Heart transplantation Immunosuppression Calcineurin inhibitor Tolerance 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Arene Andreassen, Einar Gude, Lars Gullestad, and Kaspar Broch declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kaspar Broch
    • 1
    Email author
  • Einar Gude
    • 1
  • Arne K. Andreassen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lars Gullestad
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of CardiologyOslo University Hospital, RikshospitaletOsloNorway
  2. 2.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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