Lethally irradiated LouM rats reconstituted with syngeneic bone marrow and then treated with cyclosporine (CsA) for 40 consecutive days following transplant developed a graft-v-host disease (GVHD)-like syndrome after CsA cessation. This model of GVHD was used to define and characterize a graft-v-tumor (GVT) effect against a syngeneic plasmacytoma CRL1662 cell line which expresses class II major histocompatibility (MHC) antigen (Ia). Nylon wool-nonadherent spleen cells from animals who developed syngeneic GVHD were capable of significant lysis against chromium-labeled tumor target cells in a four- hour chromium released cell mediated lympholysis assay; maximum lysis occurred five days following cessation of CsA when clinical signs first appeared. Cytolytic activity declined to baseline as GVHD symptoms resolved. Fractionation of splenocytes into lymphocyte subsets demonstrated that cytolytic lymphocytes (CTLs) of the OX8 phenotype (non-helper T) were capable of significant lysis against tumor target cells. Lysis of tumor cells was blocked by preincubation with monoclonal antibodies (MoAb) specific for the rat anti-class II MHC antigen but not with MoAb against class I. Incubation of tumor cells with gamma-interferon increased expression of tumor class II MHC antigens and significantly increased their susceptibility to lysis by nylon wool-nonadherent splenocytes from animals with syngeneic GVHD. These studies have demonstrated an in vitro GVT of syngeneic GVHD against an Ia-bearing tumor; the effector cell is a CTL of the OX8 phenotype specific for the class II MHC antigen.

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