Examination of the mechanisms responsible for tolerance induction after intrathymic inoculation of allogeneic bone marrow.
OBJECTIVE: This study examined the immunologic mechanism(s) responsible for the induction of transplantation tolerance in rats pretreated with intrathymic inoculation of donor strain bone marrow. SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: Induction of unresponsiveness may involve deletion and/or inactivation of donor-reactive T-cell precursors maturing in a thymus harboring donor alloantigen or generation of regulatory/suppressor cells. It was reasoned that, if unresponsiveness is caused by deletion of alloreactive clones, the presence of additional thymic tissue devoid of donor alloantigen permits normal maturation of T-cells and, thus, prevents induction of tolerance. However, if unresponsiveness were primarily mediated by regulatory/suppressor cells, the presence of noninoculated thymic tissue should not affect the induction of tolerance. METHODS: Three strategies were used to define the cellular basis of cardiac and islet allograft survival in WF recipients of intrathymic LEW donor bone marrow as follows: (1) inoculation of bone marrow either into the native thymus and/or into an ectopic thymus, (2) limiting dilution analyses of the frequency of precursor cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTLp), and (3) adoptive transfer to syngeneic secondary hosts. RESULTS: Inoculation of bone marrow into only one lobe of the native thymus and/or into an ectopic thymus did not promote consistent survival of subsequent LEW cardiac allografts. Tolerant hosts displayed significant reductions in CTLp frequencies against donor alloantigens. Adoptive transfer of spleen cells from tolerant WF hosts harboring long-standing cardiac allografts led to permanent survival of LEW cardiac allografts in all secondary recipients. However, transfer of spleen cells from WF animals that received intrathymic LEW bone marrow (but no cardiac allograft) did not promote survival of LEW cardiac allografts in naive secondary hosts. CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that the unresponsive state after intrathymic inoculation of bone marrow cells is primarily mediated by deletion and/or inactivation of donor-specific T-cell precursors maturing in a chimeric thymus. The demonstration by adoptive transfer studies of putative regulatory/suppressor cells suggested an important role for the persistence of donor alloantigen (supplied by a vascularized allograft) in the maintenance of the unresponsive state.
Odorico, JS; O'Connor, T; Campos, L; Barker, CF; Posselt, AM; Naji, A
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