Enhancement and acceleration of the antibody response can be achieved in some situations with large, cytotoxic doses of whole body x-radiation given after antigenic stimulation. The timing of radiation is critical and varies with the kind and physical form of the antigen.
It is postulated that the x-radiation depletes the cells of the lymphoid tissues just prior to the rapid proliferation of the antigen stimulated cells. In this situation those surviving cells which are stimulated by antigen multiply more rapidly than their non-stimulated counterparts and disproportionately repopulate the depleted lymphoid tissues. Whether the x-radiation produces other effects contributing to the multiplication of the antibody forming cells was not determined.
It appears that x-radiation produces its enhancement of antibody formation by means different from those operating in endotoxin and colchicine induced enhancement.