Background. Despite the presence of circulating donor-derived T cells during the induction of mixed chimerism across MHC barriers in miniature swine, severe graft-versus-host disease was avoided in the majority of animals. In this study, we investigated the possible roles of recipient and donor lymphoid populations in the regulation of donor-anti-recipient alloreactivity. Methods. Mixed chimerism across a full MHC-mismatch barrier was established in miniature swine using a high-dose allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell protocol. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from mixed chimeric swine were co-cultured with naïve donor-matched responders and naive recipient-matched stimulators in mixed lymphocyte reactions. Results. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from mixed chimeras inhibited donor-anti-recipient proliferation. This suppression was radioresistant to 25 Gy. Suppression of donor-anti-recipient alloreactivity was not observed in mixed lymphocyte co-cultures when donor-derived cells were added in the absence of recipient-derived cells. Conclusions. These results suggest an association between the presence of an active and relatively radioresistant cell population, demonstrable in vitro, and the regulation of graft-versus-host disease across MHC barriers in mixed chimeric miniature swine.
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