Histoincompatible-complete radiation chimeras, after resolving acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), establish specific tolerance to host and donor alloantigens. This tolerance can be perturbed with immunosuppressive agents and infusions of small numbers of donor-type cells, with infusions of massive numbers of donor-type cells, or with infusions of a small number of donor-type cells, that were sensitized against host antigens prior to transfer. These chimeras possess T lymphocytes in the spleen that specifically suppress donor to host mixed lymphocyte reactions and adoptively transfer suppression of GVHD to secondary hosts. Nylon-wool fractionation of chimeric spleen cells restores the response of chimeric lymphocytes to host alloantigens, suggesting that transplantation tolerance is not attributable to clonal deletion but the activity of nylon-wool-adherent T suppressor spleen cells.
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