Establishing mixed chimerism is a promising approach for inducing donor-specific transplant tolerance. The establishment and maintenance of mixed chimerism may enable long-term engraftment of organ transplants while minimizing the use of immunosuppressants. Several protocols for inducing mixed chimerism have been reported; however, the exact mechanism underlying the development of immune tolerance remains to be elucidated. Therefore, understanding the kinetics of engraftment during early post-transplant period may provide insight into establishing long-term mixed chimerism and permanent transplant tolerance. In this study, we intentionally induced allogeneic mixed chimerism using a nonmyeloablative regimen by host natural killer (NK) cell depletion and T cell-depleted bone marrow (BM) grafts in a major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-mismatched murine model and analyzed the kinetics of donor (C57BL/6) and recipient (BALB/c) engraftment in the weeks following transplantation. Donor BM cells were well engrafted and stabilized without graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) as early as one week post-bone marrow transplantation (BMT). Donor-derived thymic T cells were reconstituted four weeks after BMT; however, the emergence of newly developed T cells was more obvious at the periphery as early as two weeks after BMT. Also, the emergence and changes in ratio of recipient- and donor-derived NKT cells and antigen presenting cells (APCs) including dendritic cells (DCs) and B cells were noted after BMT. Here, we report a longitudinal analysis of the development of donor-and recipient-originated hematopoietic cells in various lymphatic tissues of intentionally induced mixed chimerism mouse model during early post-transplant period. Through the understanding of immune reconstitution at early time points after nonmyeloablative BMT, we suggest guidelines on intentionally inducing durable mixed chimerism.
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