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We wished to determine whether CD4+ T cells could reject a skin graft that was discordant for a single minor transplantation Ag in the absence of CD8+ T cells or Ab. Transgenic A1(M) mice were constructed that express the rearranged V beta 8.2 and V alpha 10 TCR genes from a T cell clone that is specific for the male Ag (H-Y) in the context of H2-Ek. In addition, the RAG-1(-/-) background was bred onto these mice to eliminate any endogenous TCR rearrangements. As expected, clonal deletion was found to be complete in the thymus of male A1(M) x RAG-1(-/-) mice, while only CD4+ T cells were positively selected and found in the periphery of females. Female A1(M) x RAG-1(-/-) mice were able to rapidly reject (in <14 days) male (but not female) skin grafts in a CD4-dependent fashion. After multiple grafts, it was confirmed that no CD8+ T cells or surface Ig+ B cells were present. An immunofluorescent analysis of spleen cells after grafting showed that the majority of T cells expressed activation markers (CD44, CD25, and intracytoplasmic IL-2) and a significant proportion were making IFN-gamma and IL-4. Surprisingly, the transfer of either Th1 or Th2 CD4+ T cell lines from these mice into T cell-depleted recipients was sufficient to cause a specific rejection of male skin.


Journal article


J Immunol

Publication Date





1868 - 1874


Animals, B-Lymphocyte Subsets, CD4 Antigens, CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte, Female, Genes, RAG-1, Graft Rejection, H-Y Antigen, Histocompatibility Antigens Class II, Male, Mice, Mice, Inbred CBA, Mice, Knockout, Mice, Transgenic, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta, Sex Characteristics, Skin Transplantation, Th1 Cells, Th2 Cells