Studies reported here indicate that an anti-Ia immunotoxin can eliminate the allostimulatory subpopulation of cells present within the islets of Langerhans without damaging the hormone-secreting cells. Such studies made use of an in vitro correlate of transplantation rejection, the mixed lymphocyte islet cell (MLIC) reaction. Using the MLIC, it was demonstrated that an anti-Ia immunotoxin removed cells capable of stimulating the MLIC in a dose-dependent fashion without altering the hormone-secreting functions of the remaining cells when challenged with glucose and theophylline. These studies suggest the feasibility of using such anti-Ia immunotoxins in islet allograft transplantation models to circumvent problems inherent in complement-mediated cytotoxicity, a previously documented effective form of inducing islet allotransplantation tolerance.
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