During the early stages following neural transplantation, host immune responses are initiated that are not normally found in the CNS including the induction of major histocompatibility antigens (MHC I and II). Previous laboratory findings have demonstrated prolonged survival of bovine chromaffin cells (BCC) in the rat CNS following transient immunosuppression with cyclosporin A (CSA) providing chromaffin cells are isolated from highly immunogenic passenger cells. To assess the influence of passenger and chromaffin cells on host MHC I and II expression, either BCC, nonchromaffin cell adrenal constituents (NCC), or adrenal medullary endothelial cells (EC) were implanted into the host. At 2 weeks postimplantation, robust BCC survival was obtained in CSA-treated animals. This correlated with low expression of MHC I at the hostgraft border and the virtual absence of MHC II. Good BCC survival with reduced MHC I expression only was seen at 6 weeks postimplantation in animals transiently immunosuppressed (4 weeks). In contrast, poor survival was observed in the NCC group and no survival was seen in the EC group (even with CSA treatment). In addition, marked MHC I and II expression was found in and around these grafts at 2 weeks, and was particularly intense in EC implanted animals. The results of this study suggest that nonchromaffin passenger cells in BCC preparations, most notably endothelial cells, can induce strong immune responses even in the presence of immunosuppression. Based on MHC staining, removal of these passenger cells can reduce host responses and improve long term survival of xenogeneic chromaffin cells in the CNS.
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