Vascularized bone allografts (VBAs) could be useful adjuncts to the clinical reconstructive surgeon's arsenal. These grafts are known experimentally to be subject to host rejection. One way to control the rejection problem would be to develop specific immune unresponsiveness via host conditioning. Using a proven reliable model in inbred rats for studying heterotopic VBA transplantation, recipient animals were conditioned preoperatively with third-party unrelated blood, donor-specific blood (DSB) alone and with cyclosporine, and ultraviolet irradiated donor-specific blood. The combination of DSB plus cyclosporine delayed rejection of grafts across a strong histocompatibility barrier for three to four weeks. However, rejection was delayed across a weak histocompatibility barrier for five to six weeks using this same host pretreatment. The implications are that specific immunosuppression, although possible, is difficult to achieve in VBA transplantation, and that such techniques will rely on tissue-matching to minimize the genetic disparity between graft and host.
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