There is a considerable amount of evidence, confirmed and extended by our studies, in favor of clonal deletion of alloantigen-reactive cells in neonatally induced transplantation tolerance. We have demonstrated in adult mice bearing long-standing skin allografts that lymphocytes specifically reactive with the tolerated H-2 alloantigens are undetectable by mixed lymphocyte and graftversus-host reactions, and in cell-mediated lympholysis. In addition, lymphoid cells capable of suppressing the reactivity of syngeneic normal lymphocytes in these assays similarly escape detection. Moreover, putative precursors of T cells specific for the tolerated antigens cannot be activated polyclonally with concanavalin A (Con A), nor can they be identified among thymocytes of H-2-tolerant mice. Since the tolerant state can be adoptively transferred with lymphohematopoietic cells to adult, syngeneic mice, we infer that transplantation tolerance is maintained by an active process that achieves specific clonal deletion at an early stage in the ontogeny of alloreactive T lymphocytes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas