IMMUNOLOGY: Organizing Transplant Rejection

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Science  30 Jun 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5475, pp. 2285e-2287
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5475.2285e

Immune responses toward infectious pathogens are initiated within the organized secondary lymphoid tissue of the spleen and lymph nodes. Whether this also applies in allogeneic responses toward highly vascularised organ grafts, such as the heart, remains uncertain. In such cases, the potential for an immune response exists because T cells could respond to antigens expressed on the vascular endothelium of the graft.

Lakkis et al. have found that mice lacking lymphoid organs do accept heart allografts (transplanted heart tissue from genetically distinct or allogeneic donors). They also found that T cells from these lymphoid organ-deficient mice could induce graft rejection when transferred to lymphocyte-deficient mice that possessed lymphoid tissue, even when the cells came from mice that had previously accepted a cardiac transplant. Thus, the lack of a rejection response was not due to an attitude of immune tolerance on the part of the T cells, but resulted from their inability to perceive and respond to transplanted tissue in the absence of organized lymphoid organs.—SJS

Nature Med. 6, 686 (2000).

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