A role for CD95 ligand in preventing graft rejection
Donald Bellgrau, Daniel Gold, Helena Selawry, Jodene Moore, Alex Franzusoff, Richard C. Duke
Testis is a remarkable immune-privileged site, long known for its ability to support allogeneic and xenogeneic tissue transplants. Here we have investigated the molecular basis for testis immune privilege. Testis grafts derived from mice that can express functional CD95 (Fas or Apo-1) ligand survived indefinitely when transplanted under the kidney capsule of allogeneic animals, whereas testis grafts derived from mutant gld mice, which express non-functional ligand, were rejected. Further analysis of testis showed that CD95 ligand messenger RNA is constitutively expressed by testicular Sertoli cells, and that Sertoli cells from normal mice, but not gld mice, were accepted when transplanted into allogeneic recipients. CD95 ligand expression in the testis probably acts by inducing apoptotic cell death of CD95-expressing, recipient T cells activated in response to graft antigens. These findings indicate that CD95 ligand could be used to create immune-privileged tissue for a variety of transplant uses.