The effect of allotransplantation of thyroid or islet allografts into rats with established islet allografts was studied to determine the cross-reactivity of the thyroid and islets in allograft rejection. Islets obtained from cultured neonatal rat (F344) pancreas explants were transplanted bilaterally underneath the kidney capsule of Wistar-Furth rats. After 21 days these allografts did not exhibit signs of rejection. Thyroid (half lobe) from either F344 or Brown Norway rats was transplanted underneath the capsule of the remaining kidney. Transplant of the thyroid from F344 rats resulted in immediate rejection of the islet transplant, whereas transplant of the thyroid from Brown Norway rats was without effect on the islet allograft. This indicates that the thyroid contains immunocompetent cells (cells that present antigen or induce recognition of antigen) that are capable of initiating rejection of established islet allografts. The cytotoxic T-lymphocytes that result are specific for the organ bearing the immunocompetent cells at time of transplantation.

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