Graft-versus-host disease is a potential problem following small bowel transplantation. We have previously shown that a two-day intraperitoneal course of polyclonal antilymphocyte serum completely prevents GVHD without impairing allograft function in a unidirectional rat small bowel transplant model. In the present study we sought to determine the optimum route and timing of ALS administration and whether donor pretreatment with the anti-T cell receptor monoclonal antibody R73 would be similarly effective in preventing GVHD. Both intravenous and intraperitoneal injection of ALS effectively prevent GVHD in this model. ALS must be given to donors at least 48 hr prior to graft procurement for maximum effectiveness. Prevention of GVHD correlates with lymphocyte depletion in mesenteric lymph nodes, as opposed to peripheral blood or small bowel lamina propria. Donor pretreatment with the monoclonal antibody R73 significantly delays the onset of GVHD in this small bowel transplant model but appears less effective than polyclonal ALS.