H-2-deficient (H-2-) tumor variants were accepted equally well compared with H-2+ wild-type cells in the brain of syngeneic mice, while the H-2- cells were selectively eliminated when inoculated extracranially. This indicates a specific absence or suppression of the defense against MHC class I-deficient cells in the brain, suggested to be mediated by NK cells. In contrast, T cell-mediated immune reactions could clearly be detected in the brain under the same experimental conditions. This was shown in control experiments where H-2+ tumor cells were rejected from the brain of preimmunized or allogeneic mice. The present findings may be important for the understanding of neurotropic virus infections, immunology and immunotherapy of brain tumors, as well as for the growing interest in tissue grafting within the central nervous system.

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