Background. Nonmyeloablative T cell depletion followed by donor bone marrow infusion has proved to be an effective approach to induction of mixed chimerism and tolerance of organ allografts in non-human primates. To help define the mechanisms involved we have compared T cell depletion with ATG versus anti-CD2 monoclonal antibody with respect to establishment of mixed chimerism and induction of tolerance. Method: Both nonmyeloablative regimens included low dose total body irradiation (1.5 Gy x 2), thymic irradiation (7 Gy), splenectomy and kidney plus donor bone marrow transplantation, followed by a 4-week posttransplant course of cyclosporine. In addition, the ATG group (13 recipients) received antithymocyte globulin, although the LOCD2b group (10 recipients) were treated with an anti-CD2 monoclonal antibody (LOCD2b). Results. In the ATG group, 11 of 13 monkeys developed multilineage chimerism and 9 survived for more than 100 days without kidney allograft rejection. In contrast, 0/10 monkeys in the LOCD2b group developed chimerism, 5 died of infection and 5 suffered progressive rejection; only 1 recipient survived beyond 100 days. Sequential monitoring of peripheral blood mononuclear cells revealed greater T cell (CD3+) depletion in the LOCD2b-treated animals compared to those receiving ATG. However, NK cells (CD16+CD8+) were significantly more depleted in the ATG group and NK function remained abrogated longer after ATG than LOCD2b treatment (3 weeks vs. <5 days). Conclusion: Despite excellent T cell depletion by LoCD2b, ATG was more effective in inducing chimerism and tolerance. This difference correlated with anti-NK activity of the two reagents. These data suggest that NK cells may also resist engraftment of allogeneic bone marrow cells in this model.
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