We have previously demonstrated that pretreatment of ACI recipients with ultraviolet-irradiated donor-specific blood transfusion (UV-DST) leads to permanent cardiac allograft survival without further host immunosuppression (ACI rats are weak responders to Lewis lymphocytes in mixed-lymphocyte reaction). This study examines the effect of UV-DST and the timing of transfusions on ACI cardiac allograft survival in Lewis recipients with and without the addition of peritransplant cyclosporine (CsA) (20 mg/kg i.m.) given on days 0, +1, and +2 in relation to the time of transplantation. The mean survival time (MST) of ACI cardiac allografts in Lewis recipients was significantly increased to 33.6±5.7 days (P<0.001) by CsA treatment alone as compared to 6.5±0.5 days survival in control. When DST was given on day-3 combined with CsA, graft survival was increased to 42.0±9.3 days (P<0.01), as compared to 5.8±1.3 days when DST alone was used. When DST was irradiated with ultraviolet B (UV-DST) and administered on day-3 combined with peritransplant CsA, the MST was increased to 68.83±16.1 days as compared to an MST of 10.0±1.0 days in controls treated with UV-DST alone. When UV-DST was given on day-7 and combined with peritransplant CsA immunosuppression, the results were similar. However, when UV-DST was peritransplant CsA course, 4 of 6 recipients maintained their ACI heart allografts indefinitely (>300 days) in contrast to the effect of UV-DST alone (MST of 13.5 days). Third-party (W/F) UV-irradiated blood transfusions were ineffective in prolonging ACI cardiac allografts in Lewis rats, regardless of whether the transfusions were given alone or in combination with peritransplant immunosuppression with CsA. In conclusion, these results demonstrate that UV-DST combined with a brief peritransplant immunosuppression with CsA induces prolonged heart allograft survival in a histoincompatible, strong responder host, and that such effect is donor specific. The use of UV-DST combined with peritransplant CsA immunosuppression offers a promising approach to achieving organ transplant unresponsiveness, and decreased sensitization to the donor blood elements, which eventually may have important clinical implications.
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