Pedicles of skin which lacked a lymphatic drainage were raised on the backs of rats in order to study the importance of afferent lymphatics in sensitization by skin allografts. Although allografts transplanted to the alymphatic pedicles enjoyed a prolonged survival, they contracted progressively from about 3 wk after transplantation and were reduced eventually to small scars. In contrast, autografts survived unchanged in size for the life-span of the pedicles which carried them. The slow contracture of the allografts was associated with sensitization of the host because test allografts applied orthotopically were destroyed with a second-set tempo. No regeneration of lymphatics from the long-standing pedicles could be demonstrated, and it was concluded that sensitization had occurred eventually through the blood, presumably by the process of peripheral sensitization.
Allografts on skin pedicles could be destroyed rapidly by active or adoptive immunization, so it is probable that the level of sensitization to which they themselves gave rise was a low one. Although it is not disputed that afferent lymphatics are essential for the rapid destruction of skin allografts, it is clear that the absence of a lymphatic supply does not permanently exempt them from immunological attack in the rat.