Mixed chimerism and split tolerance: Mechanisms and clinical correlations


Establishing hematopoietic mixed chimerism can lead to donor-specific tolerance to transplanted organs and may eliminate the need for long-term immunosuppressive therapy, while also preventing chronic rejection. In this review, we discuss central and peripheral mechanisms of chimerism induced tolerance. However, even in the long-lasting presence of a donor organ or donor hematopoietic cells, some allogeneic tissues from the same donor can be rejected; a phenomenon known as split tolerance. With the current goal of creating mixed chimeras using clinically feasible amounts of donor bone marrow and with minimal conditioning, split tolerance may become more prevalent and its mechanisms need to be explored. Some predisposing factors that may increase the likelihood of split tolerance are immunogenicity of the graft, certain donor-recipient combinations, prior sensitization, location and type of graft and minimal conditioning chimerism induction protocols. Additionally, split tolerance may occur due to a differential susceptibility of various types of tissues to rejection. The mechanisms involved in a tissue’s differential susceptibility to rejection include the presence of polymorphic tissue-specific antigens and variable sensitivity to indirect pathway effector mechanisms. Finally, we review the clinical attempts at allograft tolerance through the induction of chimerism; studies that are revealing the complex relationship between chimerism and tolerance. This relationship often displays split tolerance, and further research into its mechanisms is warranted.

Full Text Options
89 - 101
 Cite This Article
Mixed chimerism and split tolerance: Mechanisms and clinical correlations