The present study has evaluated the identity of the B cell subpopulations participating in T dependent antibody responses that differ in their requirements for major histocompatibility complex-restricted T cell recognition. In vitro responses of keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH)-primed T cells and trinitrophenyl (TNP)-primed B cells were studied to both low and high concentrations of the antigen TNP-KLH. It was first demonstrated that for responses to low concentrations of TNP-KLH, (A × B)F(1) {arrow} parent(A) chimeric helper T cells were restricted in their ability to recognize parent(A) but not parent(B) H-2 determinants expressed by both B cells and antigen-presenting cells (APC). In contrast, at higher antigen concentrations, helper T cells were not restricted in their interaction with B cells.

It was then determined whether these observed differences in T cell recognition resulted from the activation of distinct B cell subpopulations with different activation requirements. At low concentrations of TNP-KLH it was demonstrated that Lyb-5(-) B cells were activated, and that it was thus the activation of the Lyb-5(-) subpopulation that required T cell recognition of B cell H-2 under these conditions. In contrast, responses to high concentration of antigen required the participation of Lyb-5(+) B cells, and these Lyb-5(+) B cells were activated by a pathway that required H-2- restricted T cell interaction with APC, but not with B cells.

The findings presented here have demonstrated that Lyb-5(-) and Lyb-5(+) B cells constitute B cell subpopulations that differ significantly in their activation requirements for T cell-dependent antibody responses to TNP-KLH. In so doing, these findings have established that the function of genetic restrictions in immune response regulation is critically dependent upon the activation pathways employed by functionally distinct subpopulations of B, as well as T, lymphocytes.

This content is only available as a PDF.