Dominant infectious tolerance explains how brief tolerance-inducing therapies result in lifelong tolerance to donor antigens and “linked” third-party antigens, while recipient sensitization and ensuing immunological memory prevent the successful induction of transplant tolerance. In this study, we juxtapose these 2 concepts to test whether mechanisms of dominant infectious tolerance can control a limited repertoire of memory T and B cells. We show that sensitization to a single donor antigen is sufficient to prevent stable transplant tolerance, rendering it unstable. Mechanistic studies revealed that recall antibody responses and memory CD8+ T cell expansion were initially controlled, but memory CD4+Foxp3– T cell (Tconv) responses were not. Remarkably, naive donor-specific Tconvs at tolerance induction also acquired a resistance to tolerance, proliferating and acquiring a phenotype similar to memory Tconvs. This phenomenon of “linked sensitization” underscores the challenges of reprogramming a primed immune response toward tolerance and identifies a potential therapeutic checkpoint for synergizing with costimulation blockade to achieve transplant tolerance in the clinic.
Michael S. Andrade, James S. Young, Jared M. Pollard, Dengping Yin, Maria-Luisa Alegre, Anita S. Chong
Presensitization to a single donor antigen results in unstable transplantation tolerance.