Peritoneal macrophages were cultured for several hours after uptake of 131I-hemocyanin. The cells degraded most of the 131I-labeled protein within 2–5 hr. Their ability to prime lymphocytes of syngeneic mice for a secondary immune challenge remained unchanged for long periods of time despite the loss of more than 90% of the original content of antigen. The persistence of immunogenicity was associated with a small percentage of antigen retained by the cell in a form which was protected from rapid breakdown and elimination.

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