Transplantation tolerance: A look at the nonhuman primate literature in the light of modern tolerance theories

A. D. Kirk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Ever since the beginning of clinical transplantation, investigators have searched for a way to transplant tissues from one person to another without chronic immunosuppression. That goal, known as allograft tolerance, has remained clinically elusive. In the past decade, however, many of the fundamental principles of tolerance have been redefined, and biological agents capable of exploiting them in vivo have been developed. Accordingly, experimental methods for tolerance induction have rapidly evolved in concert with a growing understanding of physiological tolerance to self and the development of novel immunoreactive reagents. In general, old world monkeys have become the pro-clinical testing ground for methods that have shown reasonable promise for clinical application, particularly antibodies or other biological agents with limited cross-species reactivity. As such, a survey of the nonhuman primate experience in transplantation is representative of all reasonably successful experimental attempts to develop clinically applicable tolerance regimens. This article summarizes many of the concepts currently unfolding in the tolerance literature. It also reviews the techniques for tolerance induction that have been and are currently being investigated in nonhuman primates. The validity of these models is summarized, and the older literature is reinterpreted in light of recent changes in our understanding of tolerance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-388
Number of pages40
JournalCritical reviews in immunology
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Costimulation
  • Immunosuppression
  • Primate
  • Review
  • Tolerance
  • Transplantation


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