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In isologous islet transplantation in spontaneously diabetic nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice, destruction of the islet graft is caused by recurrence of T helper (Th)1-driven insulitis[fnc,1. We established a model of transplantation in which female NOD recipients were rendered diabetic by a single injection of cyclophosphamide (250 mg/kg). Under these conditions, 500 freshly isolated islets from young NOD mice transplanted under the kidney capsule did not lead to normoglycemia within 3 days after transplantation, but underwent immediate impairment of function. This primary nonfunction was seen in >80% of the recipients. Treatment of the recipients with the Th2-associated cytokine interleukin (IL)-4 alone did not prevent primary nonfunction, whereas treatment of the recipients with a combination of IL-4 and IL-10 restored immediate function of the grafts. Cytokine treatment did not prevent later rejection of grafts. Histological analysis of the grafts revealed less severely infiltrated islets, with well preserved islet architecture, in only normoglycemic animals treated with IL-4 or with IL-4 and IL-10. Staining for lymphocytes, macrophages, and tumor necrosis factor(TNF)-α did not show differences between the groups, but IFN-γ was markedly less expressed in IL-4 and IL-10-treated grafts. Concomitantly, analysis of animals treated for 8 days after injection of cyclophosphamide, with IL-4 and IL-10, revealed a reduction of IL-12 mRNA in the pancreas. We conclude from these data that primary nonfunction of islet grafts is prevented by treatment of the recipients with a combination of IL-4 and IL-10, via downregulation of Th1 cytokines.