Elimination or inactivation of lymphoid tissue in the pancreatic islet preparation achieves prolongation of islet-allograft survival. In this study we examined the effect of γ-irradiation on mouse islet-allograft survival. In a B6AF1 isograft model, irradiation up to 2400 rad did not induce deterioration of islet function over 200 days, but greater doses caused cessation of graft function between 83 and 186 days. When DBA/2 crude islets were transplanted into B6AF1 recipients, all nonirradiated allografts were acutely rejected. Marked prolongation of allograft survival was achieved by islet irradiation with doses between 800 and 12,000 rad. With higher doses, significant numbers of allografts survived beyond the controls, but many lost function between 78 and 180 days, with none surviving >200 days. Irradiation with 16,000 rad caused acute radiation damage. Because most secondary islet allografts in recipient mice that lost primary islet-graft function between 84 and 195 days survived >100 days, late functional loss was probably due to the radiation injury. Combined use of recipient treatment with cyclosporin A and graft irradiation (2400 rad) achieved prolongation of DBA/2 islets in B6AF1 mice.

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