"Pruning" of alloreactive CD4+ T cells using 5- (and 6-)carboxyfluorescein diacetate succinimidyl ester prolongs skin allograft survival
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Removal of alloreactive cells by either thymic deletion or deletion/anergy in the periphery is regarded as crucial to the development of tolerance. Dyes, such as CFSE, that allow monitoring of cell division suggest that in vitro proliferation could be a used as a way of "pruning" alloreactive cells while retaining a normal immune repertoire with retention of memory to previously encountered pathogens. This would overcome the problems occurring as a result of therapies that use massive depletion of T cells to allow acceptance of organ transplants or bone marrow grafts. We therefore used a skin graft model of CD4-mediated T cell rejection across a major H-2 mismatch (C57BL/6 (H-2(b)) to BALB/c (H-2(d)) mice) to evaluate whether nondividing CD4(+) T cells derived from a mixed lymphocyte culture would exhibit tolerance to a skin graft from the initial stimulator strain. We demonstrate that selective removal of dividing alloreactive CD4(+) T cells resulted in marked specific prolongation of allogeneic skin graft survival, and that the nondividing CD4(+) T cells retained a broad TCR repertoire and the ability to maintain memory. This novel way of depleting alloreactive T cells may serve as a useful strategy in combination with other mechanisms to achieve transplant tolerance.