The DL-A system of histocompatibility plays an important role in conditioning the survival of cardiac allografts in the unmodified canine host. The mean survival time of six cardiac allografts performed in DL-A-compatible littermate dogs obtained from a closely bred colony of beagles was 53.2 days, while the MST of transplants performed in seven DL-A-incompatible animals was 7.3 days. The MST of cardiac allografts performed in nine DL-A-compatible nonlittermate beagles was 26.3 days, as compared with 6.3 days in six DL-A-incompatible nonlittermate transplants. The results did not appear to be affected by Swisher erythrocyte-group incompatibilities. The MST of 28 cardiac allografts performed in randomly selected mongrel dogs was 10.0 days.
Incompatibilities for DL-A antigens e, f, g, l, and m may constitute major barriers to transplantation, but antigens b, c, d, and k appeared to act as weak histocompatibility antigens.
Under controlled conditions of donor-recipient DL-A compatibility, cardiac allografts may be less immunogenic than renal transplants. Heart transplants performed across major donor-recipient DL-A incompatibilities appeared, however, to be more vulnerable to the events of allograft rejection than renal allografts performed under similar conditions.
The selection of optimally compatible donor-recipient combinations for organ transplantation may be aided materially by genetic studies of the transmission of DL-A antigens to the animals under consideration.