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J Immunol. 2004 May 1;172(9):5753-64.

Metastable tolerance to rhesus monkey renal transplants is correlated with allograft TGF-beta 1+CD4+ T regulatory cell infiltrates.

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Department of Pathology, University of Wisconsin and Veterans Affairs Hospital, Madison, WI 53792, USA.


Approaches that prevent acute rejection of renal transplants in a rhesus monkey model were studied to determine a common mechanism of acceptance. After withdrawal of immunosuppression, all 14 monkeys retained normal allograft function for >6 mo. Of these, nine rejected their renal allograft during the study, and five maintained normal function throughout the study period. The appearance of TGF-beta 1(+) interstitial mononuclear cells in the graft coincided with a nonrejection histology, whereas the absence/disappearance of these cells was observed with the onset of rejection. Analysis with a variety of TGF-beta 1-reactive Abs indicated that the tolerance-associated infiltrates expressed the large latent complex form of TGF-beta 1. Peripheral leukocytes from rejecting monkeys lacking TGF-beta 1(+) allograft infiltrates responded strongly to donor Ags in delayed-type hypersensitivity trans-vivo assays. In contrast, allograft acceptors with TGF-beta 1(+) infiltrates demonstrated a much weaker peripheral delayed-type hypersensitivity response to donor alloantigens (p < 0.01 vs rejectors), which could be restored by Abs that either neutralized active TGF-beta 1 or blocked its conversion from latent to active form. Anti-IL-10 Abs had no restorative effect. Accepted allografts had CD8(+) and CD4(+) interstitial T cell infiltrates, but only the CD4(+) subset included cells costaining for TGF-beta 1. Our data support the hypothesis that the recruitment of CD4(+) T regulatory cells to the allograft interstitium is a final common pathway for metastable renal transplant tolerance in a non-human primate model.

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