The use of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation as a means of inducing donor-specific tolerance across MHC barriers could provide an immunologically specific conditioning regimen for organ transplantation. However, a major limitation to this approach is the toxicity of whole body irradiation as currently used to abrogate host resistance and permit marrow engraftment. The present study describes methodology for abrogating host resistance and permitting marrow engraftment without lethal irradiation. Our preparative protocol involves administration of anti-CD4 and anti-CD8 mAbs in vivo, 300-rad WBI, 700-rad thymic irradiation, and unmanipulated fully MHC-disparate bone marrow. B10 mice prepared by this regimen developed stable mixed lymphohematopoetic chimerism without any clinical evidence of graft-vs.- host disease. Engraftment was accompanied by induction of specific tolerance to donor skin grafts (B10.D2), while third-party skin grafts (B10.BR) were promptly rejected. Mice treated with the complete regimen without bone marrow transplantation appeared healthy and enjoyed long- term survival. This study therefore demonstrates that stable mixed chimerism with donor-specific tolerance can be induced across an MHC barrier after a nonlethal preparative regimen, without clinical GVHD and without the risk of aplasia.