Little is known about the fate of graft cells following vascularized bone allografting. This study was conducted to define the process of graft-cell repopulation with recipient cells. Sixty-five vascularized tibial bone and 50 limb allotransplantations were performed in rat sex-mismatched pairs. FK506 was used for immunosuppression. The ratio of donor and recipient cells in the graft was evaluated by semiquantitative polymerase chain reaction, using the Y-chromosome primers. Allografted bones had no rejection episodes. In the vascularized bone allograft model, donor-derived cells were gradually replaced by cells of recipient origin, such that by 24 weeks, they comprised only 10% of total cells. In the limb allograft model, male recipient cells were detected in female grafts not at 1 week but at 48 weeks posttransplantation. The ratio of recipient cells was more than 10% in the femur and tibia. Recipient-derived cells gradually migrated into the grafted bone cells with the passage of time.
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