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Mice given a single short course of anti-CD4 and anti-CD8 monoclonal antibodies (mAb) became tolerant of major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-incompatible vascularized heart allografts in a donor- and organ-specific manner. T cell depletion was not important, as blocking antibodies were equally effective. Anti-CD4 antibody therapy alone was sufficient to establish tolerance. Anti-CD8 mAb therapy alone was associated with poor recipient survival, although survivors were rendered tolerant. A second donor-type heart allograft to the neck was always accepted in recipients which had carried the first abdominal heart allograft for over 120 days, with the first heart also continuing to function. However, donor-type skin grafted at 100 days was sometimes rejected, albeit chronically. Those recipients that accepted the donor-type skin were able to reject third-party skin grafts mismatched at the MHC, or over multiple minor differences alone. Thus, the tolerance induced appeared to be donor and tissue specific, although spreading in some cases to tolerance of skin. Similarly donor-specific tolerance was found when xenogeneic PVG rat hearts were grafted into CBA/Ca mice using the same protocols of anti-CD4 plus anti-CD8 mAb. Resolution of the mechanisms underlying these forms of tolerance may permit the design of improved immunosuppressive protocols for human organ transplantation.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Immunol

Publication Date





805 - 810


Animals, Antibodies, Monoclonal, CD4 Antigens, CD8 Antigens, Graft Survival, Heart Transplantation, Histocompatibility Antigens, Immune Tolerance, Male, Mice, Mice, Inbred Strains, Rats, Skin Transplantation, T-Lymphocytes, Transplantation, Heterologous, Transplantation, Homologous