The role of neutrophils in transplantation immunity to syngeneic rat tumors was examined using a monoclonal antibody (RP-3) that depletes rat neutrophils selectively in vivo. We used 2 chemical carcinogen-induced transplanted tumors of different antigenic specificity (KMT-17 and KDH-8 of WKA rat origin). When neutrophils were selectively depleted by i.p. injection of RP-3 at the time of in vivo priming with X-irradiated tumor cells, the growth of subsequently s.c. transplanted identical tumors was not inhibited, in contrast to the group of rats immunized without RP-3 treatment. Tumor growth was also not inhibited when the immune rats were treated with RP-3 at the time of identical viable tumor cell challenge. These results suggest that neutrophils play a role in both the priming and effector phases of specific transplantation resistance to syngeneic tumors.

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