Rare cases of stable allograft acceptance after discontinuation of immunosuppression are often accompanied by macrochimerism (> 1% donor cells in blood) or microchimerism (< 1% donor cells in blood). Here, we have investigated whether persistence of donor cells is the cause or the consequence of long-lasting CTL unresponsiveness. We found that engraftment of splenocytes bearing a single foreign MHC class I–restricted epitope resulted in lifelong donor cell microchimerism and specific CTL unresponsiveness. This status was reversed in a strictly time- and thymus-dependent fashion when the engrafted cells were experimentally removed. The results presented herein show that microchimerism actively maintains CTL unresponsiveness toward a minor histocompatibility antigen by deleting the specific repertoire and thus excluding dominant, T cell extrinsic mechanisms of CTL unresponsiveness independent of systemically persisting donor cell antigen.
Weldy V. Bonilla, Markus B. Geuking, Peter Aichele, Burkhard Ludewig, Hans Hengartner, Rolf M. Zinkernagel
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were accepted. No appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.