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Nat Med. 2000 Apr;6(4):464-9.

Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation with co-stimulatory blockade induces macrochimerism and tolerance without cytoreductive host treatment.

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BMT Section, Transplantation Biology Research Center, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, MGH East, Bldg. 149-5102, 13th Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02129, USA.


Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (in immunocompetent adults) has always required cytoreductive treatment of recipients with irradiation or cytotoxic drugs to achieve lasting engraftment at levels detectable by non-PCR-based techniques ('macrochimerism' or 'mixed chimerism'). Only syngeneic marrow engraftment at such levels has been achieved in unconditioned hosts. This requirement for potentially toxic myelosuppressive host pre-conditioning has precluded the clinical use of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation for many indications other than malignancies, including tolerance induction. We demonstrate here that treatment of naive mice with a high dose of fully major histocompatibility complex-mismatched allogeneic bone marrow, followed by one injection each of monoclonal antibody against CD154 and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 immunoglobulin, resulted in multi-lineage hematopoietic macrochimerism (of about 15%) that persisted for up to 34 weeks. Long-term chimeras developed donor-specific tolerance (donor skin graft survival of more than 145 days) and demonstrated ongoing intrathymic deletion of donor-reactive T cells. A protocol of high-dose bone marrow transplantation and co-stimulatory blockade can thus achieve allogeneic bone marrow engraftment without cytoreduction or T-cell depletion of the host, and eliminates a principal barrier to the more widespread use of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. Although efforts have been made to minimize host pre-treatment for allogeneic bone marrow transplantation for tolerance induction, so far none have succeeded in eliminating pre-treatment completely. Our demonstration that this can be achieved provides the rationale for a safe approach for inducing robust transplantation tolerance in large animals and humans.

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