Relationship between chimerism and tolerance in a kidney transplantation model

Yasushi Fuchimoto, Kazuhiko Yamada, Akira Shimizu, Akihiko Yasumoto, Tokihiko Sawada, Christene H. Huang, David H. Sachs

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34 Citations (Scopus)


The persistence of donor leukocytes in recipients of organ allografts has been associated with long-term graft acceptance. However, it remains unclear whether this peripheral donor cell microchimerism plays an active role in graft acceptance or is simply a consequence of the maintenance of sufficient immunosuppression to avoid rejection. A model of kidney transplantation between swine leukocyte Ag (SLA)-matched miniature swine, in which tolerance can be established with or without immunosuppressive treatment, has been used to study the correlation between donor leukocyte chimerism and kidney graft acceptance. SLA-identical kidney transplants were performed from animals positive for an allelic pig leukocyte Ag to animals negative for this marker. SLA-identical kidney transplant recipients given a 12-day course of cyclosporine (CyA) (n = 3) became tolerant, showing stable serum creatinine levels (1-2 mg/dl) after cessation of CyA treatment. Donor cell chimerism (0.2-0.7%) was present by FACS in all three animals with peak levels detected at 3 wk. Two control animals receiving SLA-identical kidney grafts without CyA also showed stable serum creatinine levels and became tolerant. However, in neither of these animals could donor leukocytes be detected in the peripheral blood beyond 1 wk following transplantation. In one additional control animal, ureteral obstruction occurred at day 10, and was associated with additional peripheral chimerism, presumably related to inflammation rather than to immune status. These results indicate that the persistence of donor cell chimerism is not a requirement for the maintenance of tolerance to organ allografts in this model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5704-5711
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1999 May 15
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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