Skin allograft survival following intrathymic injection of donor bone marrow

Sheldon R. Cober, Mark A. Randolph, W. P.Andrew Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background. Success has been reported using intrathymic injection in the preconditioning regimen to induce allograft tolerance. Although long-term stable tolerance has been achieved in numerous rodent vascularized solid organ allograft models, tolerance to skin transplants has only been achieved across minor antigenic or concordant species disparities. This study sought to induce tolerance across an allogeneic barrier in a rat model with a major genetic disparity. Materials and methods. Lewis rats were injected intrathymically with 1 x 108 Brown-Norway (BN) bone marrow cells and intraperitoneally with 1.0 cc of rabbit anti-rat anti-lymphocyte serum (ALS). Twenty-one days later, BN skin grafts were placed on the injected animals. Control groups were included to isolate the effect of technique, thymic manipulation, strain specificity, and ALS. Results. Animals receiving both intrathymic bone marrow cells and ALS had a skin graft median survival time of 24 days versus 8 days for the control group (P = 0.003). Groups receiving anti-lymphocyte serum alone or intrathymic bone marrow cell injection alone exhibited no skin graft survival prolongation. Mixed lymphocyte reactions revealed normal responsiveness of tolerant animal lymphocytes to donor strain lymphocytes. Conclusion. This protocol utilizing the intrathymic injection of donor bone marrow cells along with short-term immunosuppression with anti- lymphocyte serum produced markedly prolonged survival of skin allografts transplanted across a major histocompatibility barrier. Although tolerance was incomplete, significant prolongation has not previously been reported in genetic disparities of this degree. These results suggest that the application of this technique for central immune modulation may be beneficial for allograft tolerance induction and deserves further study in large animals models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-208
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1999


  • Allograft
  • Bone marrow
  • Intrathymic
  • Rat
  • Skin
  • Thymus
  • Tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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