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Prenatal Tolerance Induction: Relationship Between Cell Dose, Marrow T-Cells, Chimerism, and Tolerance

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It was reported that the dose of self-antigens can determine the consequence of deletional tolerance and donor T cells are critical for tolerance induction in mixed chimeras. This study aimed at assessing the effect of cell doses and marrow T cells on engraftment and tolerance induction after prenatal bone marrow transplantation. Intraperitoneal cell transplantation was performed in FVB/N (H-2Kq) mice at gestational day 14 with escalating doses of adult C57BL/6 (H-2Kb) marrows. Peripheral chimerism was examined postnatally by flow cytometry and tolerance was tested by skin transplantation. Transplantation of light-density marrow cells showed a dose response. High-level chimerism emerged with a threshold dose of 5.0 × 106 and host leukocytes could be nearly replaced at a dose of 7.5‐10.0 × 106. High-dose transplants conferred a steady long-lasting donor-specific tolerance but were accompanied by >50% incidence of graft-versus-host disease. Depletion of marrow T cells lessened graft-versus-host disease to the detriment of engraftment. With low-level chimerism, tolerance was a graded phenomenon dependent upon the level of chimerism. Durable chimerism within 6 months required a threshold of ≥ 2% chimerism at 1 month of age and predicted a 50% chance of long-term tolerance, whereas transient chimerism (<2%) only caused hyporesponsiveness to the donor. Tolerance induction did not succeed without peripheral chimerism even if a large amount of injected donor cells persisted in the peritoneum. Neither did an increase in cell doses or donor T-cell contents benefit skin graft survivals unless it had substantially improved peripheral chimerism. Thus, peripheral chimerism level can be a simple and straightforward test to predict the degree of prenatal immune tolerance.

Keywords: Cell dose; Chimerism; Graft-versus-host disease; Immune tolerance; In utero transplantation; T cell

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2008

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

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