An approach to suppressing secondary disease with antibodies was studied that differed from conventional antibody treatment of donor marrow in vitro. It consisted of the selection of anti-Thy-1 antibodies with high affinity for Clq, the first subunit of the complement cascade, and a single injection of such antibodies into prospective irradiated marrow recipients. Monoclonal mouse IgM and rat IgG 2c antibodies of high titers in complement-dependent test systems but with low affinity for Clq caused little immunosuppression. Monoclonal rat IgG2b or mouse IgG2a anti-Thy-1 antibodies with high affinity for Clq prevented acute and chronic mortality of graft-v-host disease (GVHD), however, when injected in irradiated CBA or AKR mice prior to C57BL/6 spleen and/or bone marrow cell transfusion. This treatment simultaneously suppressed residual host-v-graft reactivity of the irradiated mice, so that permanent hematopoietic engraftment ensued even at 5 or 6 Gy. Full chimerism and specific tolerance were obtained. Primary immune response to SRBC was clearly depressed in the chimeras; secondary immune response was not. Clearance of T cell antibody activity (greater than 6 days), timing, and dose of injected antibody, as well as other modalities of the conditioning treatment that may have contributed to the remarkable immunosuppression, are discussed.

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