Purpose: To examine the role of donor-specific antibodies, with or without complement, in rejection of orthotopic corneal transplants by using mice as recipients in which the genes for the heavy chain of immunoglobulin or the third complement component have been eliminated by homologous recombination.
Methods: BALB/c corneas were transplanted into eyes of B-cell-deficient (n=17) or wild-type control C57BL/6 (n=30) mice and into eyes of complement (C3)-deficient (n=15) or wild-type control 129-C57BL/6 (n=13) mice. After surgery all grafts were evaluated over 8 weeks in a masked manner by biomicroscopy for signs of rejection.
Results: The rates of corneal transplant rejection were similar among B-cell-deficient and C3-deficient mice compared with rejection rates in their respective wild-type control subjects. This similarity applied to the time course of rejection and to cumulative survival rates.
Conclusions: Neither donor-specific antibody nor the third component of complement play essential roles in acute rejection of orthotopic corneal allografts in mice.