Chimerism was demonstrated with immunocytochemical and/or polymerase chain reaction techniques in kidney allografts and in the native skin, lymph nodes, or blood of 5 of 5 patients who received continuously functioning renal transplants from 1 or 2 haplotype HLA mismatched consanguineous donors (4 parents, 1 aunt) 27-29 years ago. In the 4 cases where the kidney donor still was alive to provide stimulator lymphocytes for testing, these provoked no (n=2) or modest (n=2) MLR in contrast to vigorous MLR to third party lymphocytes. In all 4 cases, the donor cells failed to generate in vitro cytotoxic effector cells (cell-mediated lymphocytotoxicity). These findings are in accord with the hypothesis that cell migration, repopulation, and chimerism are seminal events that define graft acceptance and ultimately can lead to acquired donor-specific nonresponsiveness (tolerance).
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