Anti-graft antibodies are often associated with graft rejection. Under special conditions, grafts continue to function normally even in the presence of anti-graft antibodies and complement. This condition is termed accommodation. We developed a xenograft accommodation model in which baby Lewis rat hearts are transplanted into Rag/GT-deficient mice, and accommodation is induced by repeated i.v. injections of low-dose anti-alpha-Gal IgG(1). The accommodated grafts survived a bolus dose of anti-alpha-Gal IgG(1), while freshly transplanted second grafts were rejected. To study the mechanism of anti-alpha-Gal IgG(1)-mediated accommodation, both real-time PCR and immunohistochemical staining revealed elevated expression of DAF, Crry and CD59 in the accommodated grafts. In vitro exposure of rat endothelial cells to anti-alpha-Gal IgG(1) also induced the up-regulation of DAF, Crry and CD59, as revealed by Western blot analyses, and was associated with an acquired resistance to antibody and complement-mediated lysis in vitro. Collectively, these studies suggest that the up-regulation of complement regulatory proteins may abrogate complement-mediated rejection and permit the development of xenograft accommodation.