Despite accumulating sequence data, information on the function of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes in fish is scarce. In contrast to the genome organization in higher vertebrates, the polymorphic MHC class I and II genes are not linked in the teleost genome. A previous study found an MHC class II linkage group to be a major determinant in the rejection of allogeneic scales by a teleost species (Cardwell et al. 2001). The present study investigated whether the teleost MHC class I linkage group can be involved in allograft rejection. Erythrocytes were chosen as grafts since they express MHC class I, but do not express class II. Rainbow trout erythrocytes expressing different MHC class I alleles were differentially stained, mixed and injected into recipients that were of the same sibling group as the donors. The MHC class I linkage group was the major determinant for in vivo graft rejection.
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