Because lymphocytes are extremely sensitive to x-rays, x-irradiation can be used to eliminate them in the transplant recipient just before grafting. In total lymphoid x-irradiation, the recipient receives multiple x-ray exposures to the thymus, spleen, and lymph nodes before the transplant surgery. The typical protocol is daily x-irradiation treatments of about 200 rads per day for several weeks until a total of 3400 rads has been administered. The recipient is grafted in this im-munosuppressed state. Because the bone marrow is not x-irradiated, lymphoid stem cells proliferate and renew the population of recirculating lymphocytes. These newly formed lymphocytes appear to be more tolerant to the antigens of the graft.
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