Mice are capable of rejecting H-2-incompatible bone marrow grafts after a single lethal exposure to X-rays. The onset of rejection begins 18–24 hr after transplantation and is completed by 96 hr. Maturation of this type of allograft reactivity does not occur until the 22nd day of life. In adult mice, the resistance to marrow allografts can be weakened by administration of cyclophosphamide or dead cultures of Corynebacterium parvum, but not heterologous anti-thymocyte serum. Sublethal exposures to X-rays 7 or 14 days before transplantation also weaken resistance. There is considerable interstrain variation in the ability of mice to resist allografts, even when H-2 differences between hosts and donor are kept identical. Although H-2 incompatibility is a necessary prerequisite for resistance, additional genetic factors influence the outcome of marrow allografts, presumably by controlling recognition. The regulator genes are determinant specific and the alleles for resistance or responder status appear to be dominant. The responder phenotype is expressed by hemopoietic cells and not by the environment. Accordingly, resistance is conferred to otherwise susceptible mice upon transfer of bone marrow cells but not of serum. The production and differentiation of effector cells for marrow graft rejection are thymus independent.
In conclusion, bone marrow allografts elicit a particular transplantation reaction, previously unknown, in irradiated mice. Peculiar features of this reaction are the lack of proliferation of host lymphoid cells, tissue specificity, thymus independence, and regulation by genetic factors which apparently do not affect the fate of other grafts.