In vitro manipulation of pancreatic islets to decrease islet immunogenicity before transplantation has largely been directed at eliminating the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class ll-positive passenger leukocytes from the islets. The mixed islet-lymphocyte coculture (MILC) system was used to quantitate the efficacy of immunodepletion of MHC class II-positive cells from pancreatic islets in terms of reducing immunogenicity. With these experiments we compared the in vitro immunogenicity of MHC class II-depleted islets with untreated islets. B10.BR (H-2k) islets were treated with anti-lak alloserum followed by complement. This treatment successfully eliminated MHC class II-positive cells from the islets, as demonstrated by indirect immunofluorescence techniques. Depleted islets generated slightly lower amounts of allospecific cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) activity when exposed to C57BL/6 (H-2b) splenocytes in the MILC than untreated control islets. Although the amount of CTL generated by the depleted islets was slightly less than that generated by untreated islets, there was significant stimulation of CTL by the MHC class II-depleted islets. Therefore, the presence or absence of MHC class II cells within the islet is unlikely to be the decisive factor contributing to islet immunogenicity.

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