• chimerism;
  • costimulation;
  • non-human primate;
  • nonmyeloablative;
  • tolerance;
  • transplant

A strategy for producing high-level hematopoietic chimerism after non-myeloablative conditioning has been established in the rhesus macaque. This strategy relies on hematopoietic stem cell transplantation after induction with a non-myeloablative dose of busulfan and blockade of the IL2-receptor in the setting of mTOR inhibition with sirolimus and combined CD28/CD154 costimulation blockade. Hematopoietic stem cells derived from bone marrow and leukopheresis products both were found to be successful in inducing high-level chimerism. Mean peripheral blood peak donor chimerism was 81% with a median chimerism duration of 145 days. Additional immune modulation strategies, such as pre-transplant CD8 depletion, donor-specific transfusion, recipient thymectomy or peritransplant deoxyspergualin treatment did not improve the level or durability of chimerism. Recipient immunologic assessment suggested that chimerism occurred amidst donor-specific down-regulation of alloreactive T cells, and the reappearance of vigorous T-mediated alloreactivity accompanied rejection of the transplants. Furthermore, viral reactivation constituted a significant transplant-related toxicity and may have negatively impacted the ability to achieve indefinite survival of transplanted stem cells. Nevertheless, this chimerism-induction regimen induced amongst the longest-lived stem cell chimerism reported to date for non-human primates and thus represents a platform upon which to evaluate emerging tolerance-induction strategies.