Effects of alterations in the immunocompetent status of Mus musculus females on the survival of transferred Mus caroli embryos
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The role of the immune system in promoting the midterm death of Mus caroli embryos transferred to the Mus musculus uterus was studied in vivo by transferring M. caroli blastocysts to recipients with altered immune status. Transfers of embryos to chimaeric mothers (Mus musculus in equilibrium Mus caroli), which were expected to be tolerant of species antigens, resulted in survival of M. musculus embryos but death of M. caroli embryos. The preferential survival of M. musculus embryos was explained by showing that M. musculus embryos can survive in the M. caroli uterus. Transfers to T cell-deficient mice of genotype nu/nu and to NK cell-deficient mice of genotype bg/bg as well as treatment of normal transfer recipients with Cyclosporin A or anti-Ia antiserum failed to prolong survival. However, immunization of recipients with M. caroli lymphocytes promoted more rapid and uniform failure of the interspecies pregnancy. Cytotoxic cells were detected in the resorbing embryos on Day 10.5 in immune pregnancies and on Day 12.5 in non-immune pregnancies and these cells were promiscuous in their pattern of lysis, showing equal reactivity against M. caroli, transfer recipient and 3rd party target cells. These experiments show that failure of M. caroli embryos in the M. musculus uterus is complex, but probably does not involve responses by classical cytotoxic T lymphocyte or natural killer cell pathways. Participation of the immune system in the resorption process, however, is confirmed and is associated with generation of promiscuous cytolytic cells.
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