The mechanisms underlying the X-linked thymus-independent (B) lymphocyte functional defect in the CBA/N (CN) mice and their F1 progeny were studied. Immune defective mice were unable to respond to the T-independent antigen 2,4-dinitrophenyl-lysyl-derivative of Ficoll (DNP-lys-Ficoll) but were able to form antibody against the highly cross-reactive hapten (trinitrophenyl) when it was coupled to an erythrocyte carrier. Immune defective CN X DBA/2N (DN) F1 male mice, which do not normally respond to T-independent antigens, were able to respond to both polyribosinic-polyribocytidylic acid and DNP-lys-Ficoll after the administration of CN X DN F1 female spleen cells even if these cells had been depleted of T lymphocytes. In addition, it was shown that the inability of the CN mice and their F1 progeny to respond to T-independent antigens was not due to an intrinsic abnormality of their microenvironment or the suppressive actions of a T lymphocyte. Our data present evidence that the X-linked defect in the CN mice is due to an intrinsic defect in B-lymphocyte development.

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