This study describes the induction of allograft tolerance to the "male-specific," minor histocompatibility antigen, H-Y, in adult C57BL/6 female mice, and the effects of this tolerance induction on two immune parameters associated with graft rejection: delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) and cytolytic T-lymphocytes (CTL). B6 females tolerized to H-Y, by a single iv injection of C57BL/6 male lymphocytes, exhibited prolonged or permanent survival of B6 male tail skin grafts. Graft-induced DTH against H-Y antigen was reduced or abrogated in tolerized females. Delayed onset of graft rejection in partially tolerant females correlated with delayed onset of DTH, and eventual rejection of grafts was accompanied by an increase in H-Y-specific DTH. In contrast, H-Y-specific CTL activity was not consistent with graft status. These data demonstrate a correlation between H-Y-specific DTH and rejection of male skin grafts by B6 female mice and are most consistent with a major effector role for DTH in chronic graft rejection.
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