Background. Lymphoid tissue within the intestinal graft require immunomodulatory strategies to prevent graft versus host disease (GVHD) after transplant. Herein, we evaluate the potential advantage of donor-specific bone marrow infusions in donor and or recipient preconditioned with total body irradiation and or antilymphocyte serum (ALS) on the incidence of GVHD and rejection after small bowel transplantation. Methods. Heterotopic SBTx was performed from DA to Lewis rats and distributed in nine groups: control group GO (n=4) and G1 (n=6) without irradiation; recipients in G2 (n=4) were given 400 rd although in groups 3 (n=5), G4 (n=6), G6 (n=5), G7 (n=5), and G8 (n=6) with 250 rd. Donors in G5 (n=4) and G6 were given 250 rd of total body irradiation 2 hours before intestinal retrieval. Donors and recipients in G7 and donors in G8 additionally received ALS (day -5). G1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8 were infused with UDBM and G4 with the same amount of TCDBM. Animals received tacrolimus for 15 days and accessed for rejection, GVHD and for chimerism analysis. Results. High mortality due to GVHD was observed in G2, 3, and 4, and correlated with high levels of donor T cells in recipients blood. G0 and G1 showed early acute rejection with progression toward chronic rejection, in contrast to the preconditioned groups. High and low doses of total body irradiation resulted in allogeneic and in a mixed chimerism, respectively. Decrease in donor chimeric cells after 11 weeks in preconditioned groups was correlated with severe allograft rejection. Conclusion. Donor preconditioning with 250 rd and or ALS combined with recipient preconditioning and donor-specific bone marrow infusions prevented GVHD and resulted in a transient mixed chimerism with inhibition of allograft rejection after small bowel transplantation.
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