Durability of donor-specific and organ-specific heart transplant tolerance induced by intrathymic pretreatment with allogeneic spleen cells

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Permanent acceptance of an experimental cardiac allograft can be achieved in the rat by pretreating the recipient with antilymphocyte serum and intrathymic donor lymphocytes. We investigated the durability and specificity of the tolerance produced by this pretreatment in a rat model of heterotopic heart transplantation with Lewis-Brown Norway donors and Lewis recipients. Pretreated Lewis rats received 1 ml antilymphocyte serum intraperitoneally and 5 x 107 Lewis-Brown Norway splenocytes intrathymically, followed 21 days later by Lewis-Brown Norway cardiac transplantation. The first Lewis-Brown Norway cardiac allograft survived long term (mean 140 days) in pretreated recipients who were given no subsequent immunosuppression. After 60 days with a heating Lewis-Brown Norway allograft, tolerant Lewis recipients underwent a second cardiac allograft with either a Lewis-Brown Norway heart or a third- party Wistar-Furth heart. The second Lewis-Brown Norway cardiac allograft was not rejected (mean survival 76 days), but that from the third-party Wistar- Furth donor was rejected in a normal fashion (mean survival 10.4 days). The presence of second grafts did not affect survival of first grafts. Tolerant Lewis recipients of two Lewis-Brown Norway heart grafts underwent subsequent transplantation with Lewis-Brown Norway skin. Skin allograft survival in this group (mean 8.4 days) was not different from that in Lewis recipients without pretreatment. Rejection of skin grafts had no effect on the heart grafts. These data suggest that tolerance to cardiac allografts produced by intrathymic pretreatment is durable and extends to a second heart graft from a genetically identical donor. Tolerant rats reject third-party hearts and primary donor skin grafts normally, and tolerance to previously placed heart grafts is not abrogated by this rejection. Non-major histocompatibility complex skin antigens not present on cardiac cells may account for the tissue specificity of the tolerance produced by intrathymic treatment in this model.




Shen, Z., Mohiuddin, M., Goldstein, C., Yokoyama, H., & DiSesa, V. J. (1996). Durability of donor-specific and organ-specific heart transplant tolerance induced by intrathymic pretreatment with allogeneic spleen cells. Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, 111(2), 429–431. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0022-5223(96)70453-1

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