The phenotype of Schwann cells, whether of host or donor origin, in nerve allografts has been a source of debate. The origin of Schwann cells in peripheral nerve allografts under conditions of no, temporary or continuous immunosuppression was assessed by immunohistochemistry. We hypothesized that host-derived Schwann cells would replace rejected foreign donor Schwann cells after withdrawal of immunosuppression. A murine model of nerve transplantation to normal (wild-type) hosts from donor Shiverer mice, a mutant whose Schwann cells are deficient in myelin basic protein, was used and antibody reactivity against myelin basic protein was employed to ascertain the identity of Schwann cells in the nerve allograft. Without immunosuppression, donor Shiverer Schwann cells were rejected and the nerve graft morphology was restored by host-derived Schwann cells. With continuous immunosuppression, donor Shiverer Schwann cells persisted in the graft segment, associated with a chronic rejection phenomenon. The latter allowed migration of host-derived Schwann cells, over time, into the graft segment in approximately half the cases. After withdrawal of finite (6 weeks) immunosuppression, a rejection response eliminated donor Schwann cells. Replacement by host Schwann cells ensued as was hypothesized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-322
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neuropathology and experimental neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1994


  • Donor cells
  • Mutant mice
  • Myelin basic protein
  • Nerve injury
  • Nerve regeneration
  • Shiverer mice
  • Transplantation


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