The effect of oral immunization on corneal allograft survival

Transplantation. 1996 Mar 27;61(6):920-6. doi: 10.1097/00007890-199603270-00014.


The present study examined the potential of orally induced tolerance for preventing immunological rejection of corneal allografts. Orthotopic corneal allografts were transplanted from either C3H (MHC + multiple minor H-mismatched) or NZB (multiple minor H-mismatched only) donors to CB6F1 recipients on day 0. Tissue cultured corneal epithelial and endothelial cells from relevant donor strains were administered orally from day -14 to day -4 on a daily basis, The incidence of graft rejection, graft mean survival time (MST), and alloimmune responses, and the antigen specificity of induced tolerance were studied. Oral immunization induced a remarkable tolerance such that only 55% of the orally immunized hosts rejected their fully allogeneic corneal grafts (MST = 43 days) compared with 100% rejection (MST = 18 days) in normal controls. Likewise, rejection of MHC-matched, multiple minor H-mismatched corneal grafts fell from 80% in untreated controls to 36% in orally immunized hosts. Oral immunization was effective in desensitizing previously immunized hosts. Rejection of MHC-matched, multiple H minor-mismatched corneal allografts fell from 93% in preimmune, unfed hosts to 36% in preimmune, orally tolerized mice. Thus, oral immunization is a safe and effective method for desensitizing high-risk, preimmune hosts and promoting corneal allograft survival.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Cornea / cytology
  • Cornea / immunology*
  • Corneal Transplantation / immunology*
  • Epithelium / immunology
  • Epithelium / transplantation
  • Epitopes
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection / immunology
  • Graft Rejection / prevention & control*
  • Graft Survival / immunology*
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed / immunology
  • Immunization*
  • Immunosuppression Therapy / methods*
  • Incidence
  • Isoantibodies / biosynthesis
  • Isoantigens / therapeutic use
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Mice, Inbred NZB
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology
  • Time Factors
  • Transplantation, Homologous / immunology


  • Epitopes
  • Isoantibodies
  • Isoantigens