A novel tool for B-cell tolerance research: Characterization of mouse alloantibody development using a simple and reliable cellular ELISA technique
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In animal-based transplantation research, the measurement of anti-donor antibodies in transplant recipients is limited by lack of an appropriate technique. We have developed a novel immunoassay capable of quantifying antibody bound to cell-surface major histo- compatability complex (MHC) and non-MHC antigens, using splenocytes from wild-type and MHC-deficient mice as antigen-bearing target cells. We utilized our "cellular ELISA" (CELISA) technique to study the development of tolerance versus immunity in the B-cell compartment in response to neonatal exposure to allogeneic fetal liver cells (FLC). This neonatal tolerance protocol typically induces permanent acceptance of donor-type and third-party cardiac allografts, but rejection of both donor-type and third-party skin grafts occurs. C3H/He (C3H; H-2(k)) mice were injected as neonates with BALB/c (BALB; H-2(d)) FLC and transplanted as adults with C57BL/6 (B6; H-2(b)) cardiac grafts. Despite long-term acceptance of third-party B6 cardiac grafts, serum contained increased anti-B6 IgG and IgM levels as measured by CELISA; IgM production was elevated by 2 weeks posttransplant and remained stable, while IgG production increased rapidly between 2 and 5 weeks posttransplant. In another experimental setting, CELISA assays were able to detect that neonatal injection of C3H mice with FLC from wild-type B6 mice or from MHC class II-deficient or class I/II-deficient (B6 background) mice (CI(+)CII(+), CI(+)CII(-), CI(-)CII(-), respectively) prevented sensitization to B6 antigens by subsequent skin transplants but did not induce graft acceptance, whereas FLC from MHC class I-deficient-only (CI(-)CII(+)) did not prevent B6 sensitization. The CELISA technique is a simple and sensitive means for quantifying alloantibodies in mice and will assist in further delineating the role of the B-cell compartment in neonatally induced cardiac allograft acceptance.
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