Skin allograft rejection is a test of the competence of T lymphocytes to mediate in vivo tissue destruction, which in turn reflects their role in critical functions such as anti-viral and tumor immunity. The tail-skin graft procedure described here is useful predominantly because of the ease of preparation and resistance to ischemic (nonspecific) necrosis. Additionally, it is not necessary to sacrifice the donor mouse. However, rejection of tail-skin grafts should not be used to test for genetic homogeneity in breeding experiments or to detect minor histocompatibility (minor-H) antigens because tail skin is less sensitive than trunk skin in detecting such differences. The trunk-skin graft procedure detailed here more difficult to perform than the tail-skin graft. It requires extensive tissue preparation and is more susceptible to ischemic necrosis. Trunk-skin grafts are especially useful for detecting minimal histocompatibility differences.
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