During immune response to an allograft, activated T cells express a number of cell surface activation antigens, among them the membrane receptor for the lymphokine interleukin 2 (IL-2). As the IL-2 receptor is not present on resting T cells, it offers an attractive target for potentially specific immunosuppressive therapy. The rat monoclonal antibody M7/20, which binds to the murine IL-2 receptor, was studied for its effect on allograft survival in two H-2-incompatible strain combinations in inbred mice. Treatment with M7/20 for 10 days markedly prolonged survival of vascularized, hetero topic heart allografts in both strain combinations, with indefinite graft survival in 50% of recipients. The same treatment significantly prolonged skin allograft survival in one of the two combinations. The results support the important role of the IL-2 receptor in the mechanism of graft rejection and confirm its suitability as a target for immunosuppressive therapy in transplantation.
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