Rat nigral xenografts survive in the brain of MHC class II-, but not class I-deficient mice

W. M. Duan, M. A. Westerman, G. Wong, Walter C Low

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16 Scopus citations


We have examined the role of the indirect pathway of antigen recognition and T cells in neural xenografts rejection by using major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II-deficient mice as xenograft recipients. Dissociated embryonic ventral mesencephalic tissue from Sprague-Dawley rats was stereotaxically injected as a cell suspension into the striatum of MHC class II-deficient adult mice as well as MHC class I-deficient and wild-type mice as controls. All of the MHC class II-deficient mice had surviving grafts in the striatum 4 weeks post-grafting. In contrast, only a few of the MHC class I-deficient mice exhibited very small grafts and none of the wild-type mice had any surviving grafts. The mean number of surviving transplanted dopamine neurons in the MHC class II-deficient group was significantly larger than that observed in the other two groups. Moderate levels of MHC class I antigen expression were seen in the transplantation sites of some animals in the MHC class II-deficient group. No helper or cytotoxic T cells were observed infiltrating into the graft sites of this group. However, there were markedly increased levels of expression of MHC class I and class II antigens, and a number of T cells infiltrating in the graft sites in both the MHC class I-deficient and wild-type groups. These results show that rat embryonic nigral tissue can survive transplantation in the brain of the MHC class II-deficient mice for at least 4 weeks without any overt signs of rejection, suggesting that the indirect pathway of foreign antigen recognition mediated by host MHC class II molecules and helper T cells plays an important role in the rejection responses to intracerebral xenografts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-504
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 20 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported in part by the Lyle French Fund, the Supporters United for Parkinson’s Education and Research (SUPER) Fund, the Ben and Beryl Miller fund, the Ray and Velmabelle Cornford Fund, and the E. Isaksen Parkinson’s Disease Research Fund.

Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Dopamine
  • Immunology
  • Major histocompatibility complex antigens
  • Neural transplantation
  • Parkinson's disease


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