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J Immunol. 1996 Oct 1;157(7):2820-9.

Durable mixed allogeneic chimerism and tolerance by a nonlethal radiation-based cytoreductive approach.

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Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.


For over 40 years, the association between hemopoietic chimerism and donor-specific tolerance for allografts has been recognized. However, toxicity associated with lethal conditioning has prevented the clinical application of bone marrow (BM) chimerism to induce tolerance. We previously demonstrated that engraftment could be achieved with less than total recipient myeloablation (700 cGy) and that the incidence of engraftment correlated with the dose of total body irradiation (TBI). Administration of cyclophosphamide (CyP) on Day +2 reduced the minimum TBI dose sufficient to permit engraftment to 500 cGy. In the current study, addition of antilymphocyte globulin (ALG) to the TBI/CyP-based conditioning approach reduced the radiation required for engraftment to < or = 300 cGy. B10 (H-2b) mice conditioned with ALG on day -3, 300 cGy of TBI with transplantation of B10.BR (H-2k) or BALB/c (H-2d) BM on day 0, and CyP on day +2 exhibited evidence of donor chimerism (49.6 +/- 3.7% and 38.2 +/- 2.4%, respectively) in 97% of recipients. ALG eliminated CD4+ and CD8+ cells and decreased NK1.1+ cells in the peripheral circulation at the time of transplantation. Moreover, T and NK cells in the host BM were significantly decreased compared with cells of recipients conditioned with TBI alone. CyP delayed repopulation of host thymocytes, providing time for the establishment of donor chimerism before production of mature T cells. Chimeric animals exhibited stable multilineage chimerism and donor-specific tolerance to skin grafts and in in vitro assays. This model may provide a clinically acceptable approach for the induction of donor-specific transplantation tolerance.

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