The benefit of class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) antigen matching to renal allograft survival, in the absence of immunosuppression, has been studied in partially inbred miniature swine. Permanent (greater than 6 mo) renal allograft survival was found in 30% of recipients of either class II only or fully matched grafts. Analysis of the survival of the class II-only matched grafts by specific recipient/donor haplotype combinations indicated that survival was regulated by at least three genetic factors, including antigen gene dose, a class I MHC allele-dependent effect, and non-MHC-linked immune response phenomenon. Animals accepting class II-matched kidneys developed spontaneous tolerance to the graft, despite mounting an initial immune response marked by renal damage and the development of serum cytotoxic antibodies directed at the donor MHC antigens. The antibodies were only of the IgM class, suggesting that conversion of the humoral response to IgG was blocked. After acceptance of the kidney, three out of five animals showed specific prolongation of donor skin grafts. At the time of rejection of these skin grafts, no decrease in renal function nor reappearance of anti-donor antibodies was observed.

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