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Authors Al-Adra DP, Chan WF, Anderson CC
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Journal Transplantation Volume: 92 Issue: 9 Pages: 977-84
Publish Date 2011 Nov 15
PubMed ID 21956197

Induction of allogeneic hematopoietic chimerism is a promising strategy to induce tolerance to donor islets for treating type 1 diabetes. Successful induction of chimerism requires overcoming host alloimmunity. In diabetes-prone nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice, this is challenging due to their general tolerance resistance. Although the adaptive alloimmunity of NOD mice is a known barrier to allogeneic chimerism, whether NOD natural killer (NK) cells are an additional barrier has not been examined. Because NOD NK cells exhibit functional defects, they may not inhibit chimerism generation.Antibody depletion of NK cells in vivo, or transplantation of F1 hybrid donor cells to eliminate the “missing-self” trigger of NK cells, was preformed to test the NK-mediated rejection of donor bone marrow cells. We also studied the capacity of rapamycin to block the NK cell response against allogeneic cells in vivo.Depleting NK cells or rendering them unresponsive to the donor greatly improved the level of chimerism obtained in NOD mice. Rapamycin significantly reduced the resistance to allogeneic chimerism mounted by NOD NK cells; however, it was much less effective than NK cell depletion by antibodies.Contrary to the view that NOD NK cells are defective, we found these cells to be a substantial barrier to allogeneic chimerism in the presence or absence of adaptive immunity. Moreover, rapamycin will need to be combined with other approaches to fully overcome the NK cell barrier. Copyright © 2017 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System