A protocol consisting of a single donor-specific transfusion (DST) plus a brief course of anti-CD154 monoclonal antibody (anti-CD40 ligand mAb) induces permanent islet allograft survival in chemically diabetic mice, but its efficacy in mice with autoimmune diabetes is unknown. Confirming a previous report, we first observed that treatment of young female NOD mice with anti-CD154 mAb reduced the frequency of diabetes through 1 year of age to 43%, compared with 73% in untreated controls. We also confirmed that spontaneously diabetic NOD mice transplanted with syngeneic (NOD-Prkdc(scid)/Prkdc(scid)) or allogeneic (BALB/c) islets rapidly reject their grafts. Graft survival was not prolonged, however, by pretreatment with either anti-CD154 mAb alone or anti-CD154 mAb plus DST. In addition, allograft rejection in NOD mice was not restricted to islet grafts. Anti-CD154 mAb plus DST treatment failed to prolong skin allograft survival in nondiabetic male NOD mice. The inability to induce transplantation tolerance in NOD (H2g7) mice was associated with non-major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes. Treatment with DST and anti-CD154 mAb prolonged skin allograft survival in both C57BL/6 (H2b) and C57BL/6.NOD-H2g7 mice, but it was ineffective in NOD, NOD.SWR-H2q, and NOR (H2g7) mice. Mitogen-stimulated interleukin-1beta production by antigen-presenting cells was greater in strains susceptible to tolerance induction than in the strains resistant to tolerance induction. The results suggest the existence of a general defect in tolerance mechanisms in NOD mice. This genetic defect involves defective antigen-presenting cell maturation, leads to spontaneous autoimmune diabetes in the presence of the H2g7 MHC, and precludes the induction of transplantation tolerance irrespective of MHC haplotype. Promising islet transplantation methods based on overcoming the alloimmune response by interference with costimulation may require modification or amplification for use in the setting of autoimmune diabetes.

This content is only available via PDF.