We recently reported that reconstitution of lethally irradiated B10 mouse recipients with 40x106 untreated WF rat bone marrow cells resulted in stable fully xenogeneic chimerism (WF rat → B10 mouse). In these animals, the tolerance induced for skin xenografts was highly MHC specific in that donor- specific WF rat skin grafts were significantly prolonged while MHC-disparate third-party xenografts were rapidly rejected (median survival time [MST] = 9 days). We have now examined whether islet cell xenografts placed under the renal capsule of chimeras rendered diabetic with streptozotocin would be accepted and remain functional to maintain euglycemia. Animals were prepared, typed for chimerism at 6 weeks, and diabetes induced with streptozotocin. Donor-specific WF (Rt1A(u)) islet cell xenografts were significantly prolonged (MST >180 days) in WF → B10 chimeras, while MHC-disparate third- party F344 rat (Rt1A(l)) grafts were rejected with a time course similar to unmanipulated B10 mice (MST=8 days). The transplanted donor-specific islet cells were functional to maintain euglycemia, since removal of the grafts at from 100 to 180 days in selected individual chimeras uniformly resulted in return of the diabetic state. These data suggest that donor-specific islet cell xenografts are accepted and remain functional in mice rendered tolerant to rat xenoantigens following bone marrow transplantation.
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