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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2013, Article ID 483856, 6 pages
Research Article

Heart Allograft Tolerance Induced and Maintained by Vascularized Hind-Limb Transplant in Rats

1Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA
2Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA
3Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Harbin, Heilongjiang 150086, China
4Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA
5Research Center for Translational Medicine, Tongji University, Shanghai East Hospital, Shanghai 200120, China

Received 1 July 2012; Revised 9 February 2013; Accepted 12 February 2013

Academic Editor: A. W. Thomson

Copyright © 2013 Quan Liu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Organ/tissue transplantation has become an effective therapy for end-stage diseases. However, immunosuppression after transplantation may cause severe side effects. Donor-specific transplant tolerance was proposed to solve this problem. In this study, we report a novel method for inducing and maintaining heart allograft tolerance rats. First, we induced indefinite vascularized hind-limb allograft survival with a short-term antilymphocyte serum + Cyclosporine A treatment. Peripheral blood chimerism disappeared 6-7 weeks after immunosuppression was withdrawn. Then the recipients accepted secondary donor-strain skin and heart transplantation 200 days following vascularized hind-limb transplantation without any immunosuppression, but rejected third party skin allografts, a status of donor-specific tolerance. The ELISPOT results suggested a mechanism of clone deletion. These findings open new perspectives for the role of vascularized hind-limb transplant in the induction and maintenance of organ transplantation tolerance.