When engrafted with donor stem cells and lymphoid cells, patients develop transplantation tolerance to donor antigens. We analyzed the mechanism of tolerance induction in immunoincompetent recipients whose immunity has been reconstituted by transplantation of mismatched stem cells. Seven infants or human fetuses received fetal liver transplants as a treatment for severe combined immunodeficiency disease. After reconstitution of immunity by lymphocytes developed from donor stem cells, T-cell clones were produced and analyzed. Because donors and recipients were HLA mismatched, it was easy to demonstrate the donor origin of the T-cell clones. These clones were shown to have developed tolerance to histocompatibility antigens of the stem cell donor via a process of clonal deletion (probably as a result of contact with donor-derived macrophages and dendritic cells). They were also tolerant to histocompatibility antigens of the host but through a different mechanism: many clones recognized these antigens but had no detrimental effect on the target cells exhibiting host antigens, either in vitro or in vivo. Clonal anergy was therefore the cause of this tolerance to host determinants, resulting in a lack of graft-versus-host disease and of autoimmunity. The contact between developing T cells of donor origin and host epithelial cells within the host thymus may explain this colonal anergy. It should be noted that all patients had high serum levels of interleukin-10, which might have contributed to the persistent engraftment and tolerance.
|Number of pages||2|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2005|
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