Background. T-cell chimerism predominates in miniature swine receiving hematopoietic-cell transplantation without myelosuppressive conditioning. Several chimeric recipients have become hyporesponsive to donor-major histocompatibility complex (MHC) in vitro and accepted donor-matched renal transplants without immunosuppression. However, some retained antidonor in vitro responses and subsequently rejected donor renal allografts despite the persistence of peripheral blood chimerism. In this study, we characterize the donor cells in both "tolerant" and "nontolerant" chimeric miniature swine. Methods. Peripheral blood chimerism was determined by flow cytometry. In vitro antidonor responsiveness was determined by mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR) and cell-mediated lymphocytotoxicity (CML). Donor cells were separated from chimeras by immunomagnetic bead separation and used as stimulators or targets in CML assays. Phenotypic analysis of donor cells in chimeras was performed using flow cytometry. Results. Peripheral blood chimerism stabilized beyond 100 days and was made up almost entirely of T cells. PBMC from nontolerant chimeras could be stimulated in vitro to kill donor cells isolated from the mixed chimera itself. In contrast, PBMC from tolerant chimeras hyporesponsive to donor-type cells could not be stimulated in vitro to kill their own sorted donor cells. Conclusions. The in vivo persistence of donor T cells in mixed chimeric animals with in vitro antidonor responsiveness is not caused by an inability of these cells to be killed but rather by the poor stimulating capacity of these donor T cells. The nature of donor T cells that persist in the face of in vitro antidonor responses, has important implications for the induction of transplant tolerance by way of the generation of mixed chimerism.
ASJC Scopus subject areas