Induction of Transplant Tolerance with Immunodominant Allopeptide-pulsed Host Lymphoid and Myeloid Dendritic Cells



We have studied the effects of adoptive transfer of host thymic dendritic cells pulsed with immunodominant WF Class I peptide 5 (residues 93–109) on cardiac allograft survival in the WF-to-ACI rat combination. Our results showed that, whereas intrathymic inoculation of WF peptide 5-pulsed ACI thymic dendritic cells alone on day −7 did not prolong graft survival, similar treatment combined with 0.5 mL antilymphocyte serum (ALS) led to 100% permanent acceptance (> 200 d) of donor-specific cardiac allografts. Extension of our study to systemic administration of peptide 5-pulsed host thymic dendritic cells confirmed that intravenous injection of peptide 5-pulsed self thymic dendritic cells combined with ALS transient immunosuppression resulted in 100% permanent donor-specific graft survival (> 200 d). These results were reproducible in a clinically relevant model using intravenous injection of peptide-pulsed host myeloid dendritic cells. In contrast, thymectomy prior to adoptive transfer of peptide-pulsed host dendritic cells resulted in acute graft rejection at times equivalent to rejection in thymectomized controls. The long-term unresponsive recipients challenged with second-set grafts accepted permanently (> 100 d) donor-type (WF) but not third party (Lewis) cardiac allografts. This study suggests that intravenous administration of genetically engineered dendritic cells expressing donor MHC molecules has the potential of inducing transplant tolerance.