Skin graft tolerance across a discordant xenogeneic barrier

Nat Med. 1996 Nov;2(11):1211-6. doi: 10.1038/nm1196-1211.


Specific T-cell tolerance may be essential for successful xenotransplantation in humans. Grafting of thymectomized, T cell-depleted normal mice with xenogeneic fetal pig thymus and liver (FP THY/LIV) tissue results in the recovery of functional CD4 antigen-positive cells. We have tested T-cell tolerance by skin grafting. Donor-matched pig skin survived permanently (> 200 days), whereas allogeneic mouse skin was rapidly rejected. Nontolerant control mice rejected pig skin within 26 days. Both porcine and murine histocompatibility class IIhigh cells were detected in long-term thymus grafts, and T-cell repertoire analyses suggested that tolerance to both donors and recipients developed, at least in part, by intragraft clonal deletion. This study demonstrates the principle that tolerance, measured by the stringent criterion of skin grafting, can be induced across a widely disparate species barrier.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Immune Tolerance / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / immunology
  • Skin / immunology*
  • Swine
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Thymus Gland / immunology*
  • Transplantation, Heterologous / immunology*


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta