The importance of MHC class II in allogeneic bone marrow transplantation and chimerism-based solid organ tolerance in a rat model.
Mixed hematopoietic chimerism enables donor-specific tolerance for solid organ grafts. This study evaluated the influence of different serological major histocompatibility complex disparities on chimerism development, graft-versus-host disease incidence and subsequently on solid organ tolerance in a rat model. For bone marrow transplantation conditioning total body irradiation was titrated using 10, 8 or 6 Gray. Bone marrow transplantation was performed across following major histocompatibility complex mismatched barriers: complete disparity, MHC class II, MHC class I or non-MHC mismatch. Recipients were clinically monitored for graft-versus-host disease and analyzed for chimerism using flow cytometry. After a reconstitution of 100 days, composition of peripheral leukocytes was determined. Mixed chimeras were challenged with heart grafts from allogeneic donor strains to define the impact of donor MHC class disparities on solid organ tolerance on the basis of stable chimerism. After myeloablation with 10 Gray of total body irradiation, chimerism after bone marrow transplantation was induced independent of MHC disparity. MHC class II disparity increased the incidence of graft-versus-host disease and reduced induction of stable chimerism upon myelosuppressive total body irradiation with 8 and 6 Gray, respectively. Stable mixed chimeras showed tolerance towards heart grafts from donors with MHC matched to either bone marrow donors or recipients. Isolated matching of MHC class II with bone marrow donors likewise led to stable tolerance as opposed to matching of MHC class I. In summary, MHC class II disparity was critically associated with the onset of graft-versus host disease and was identified as obstacle for successful development of chimerism after bone marrow transplantation and subsequent donor-specific solid organ tolerance.