Gradual rejection of topically engrafted human split-thickness skin grafts (HSTSG) occurred in greater than 90% of congenitally athymic (nude) rats between 21 and 42 days of grafting. Engraftment and rejection of HSTSG is accompanied by a partial restoration of some cell-mediated immune components, the mixed lymphocyte response and lysis of human target cells. Histologic features of the rejection process were those seen in a host-versus-graft reaction. Immunofluorescent analysis of skin undergoing rejection demonstrated IgG at the basement membrane zone in most grafts. Nude rats rejecting HSTSG had circulating IgG which bound to the basement membrane zone and blood vessels of human skin. Nude rats treated with cyclosporine injections for 21 days had an enhanced survival of HSTSG, 120 or more days.

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