Urodele amphibians are thought to have poorer immune responses than evolutionary more ancestral vertebrate classes, such as bony fish. We investigated skin graft rejection and transplantation immunity in Urodele amphibians, Japanese newts, and Asiatic salamanders, and compared these findings to those from transplants in several species of frogs. The skin grafts used in this study were either allogeneic or xenogeneic. The mean survival time of the first set of allografts at 20°C was approximately 60 days for chronic responses in Urodela and 20 days for acute responses in Anura. As the graft survival times of urodeles were significantly longer than those of anurans, even when urodeles were repeatedly grafted from identical donors, there appear to be substantial differences in transplantation immunity between Urodela and Anura. These slow responses in Urodela may not be accompanied by the expansion of cytotoxic T cells, as observed in fish and anuran species, which are known to have functional major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-class I systems. In our study, approximately five histo-incompatible immunogenic components were found to be involved in chronic responses in newts. Similar chronic responses were also observed in xenograft rejection in newts. In contrast, xenografts were rejected in frogs due to an accelerated acute response, possibly involving natural killer cells. Our findings that some anti-allogeneic components appear to be shared with xenogeneic components indicate that the diversification of the acquired immune system is poorly developed in Urodela.
ASJC Scopus subject areas