Hartley guinea pigs genetically unresponsive to hapten-PLL (poly-L-lysine) conjugates were lethally irradiated and given allogeneic bone marrow from Hartley responder animals. Many of the animals died of graft versus host disease before their response to 2,4-dinitrophenyl-PLL (DNP-PLL) could be measured. The immune response of the surviving recipient animals was evaluated by anti-DNP antibody production, development of delayed hypersensitivity to DNP-poly-L-lysine, as well as by lymph node cell stimulation in vitro by this antigen. 12 of 14 recipient animals thus treated made an immune response as measured by 2 of the 3 parameters.
Strain 13 guinea pigs, genetically unable to respond immunologically to DNP-PLL and to DNP-GL (2,4-dinitrophenyl-L-glutamic acid L-lysine copolymer) were lethally irradiated and given bone marrow from (2 x 13) F1 responder animals or strain 13 bone marrow and (2 x 13) F1 lymph node and spleen cells. A high proportion of the animals survived this procedure; no evidence of graft versus host disease was observed. Three of three strain 13 animals irradiated and, given strain 13 bone marrow and (2 x 13) F1 lymph node and spleen, and then immunized with DNP-PL, made a specific immune response. 7 of 10 irradiated strain 13 animals given strain 13 bone marrow and (2 x 13) F1 lymph node and spleen made an immune response to DNP-GL. However, only one of six irradiated strain 13 animals made a vigorous immune response to DNP-GL after reconstitution with (2 x 13) F1 bone marrow alone.
The ability to transfer the immune response to PLL antigens from responder to nonresponder animals demonstrates unequivocally that the defect in the non-responder animals is immunological rather than due to some other type of non-immunological mechanism. The bone marrow contains all the immunological cells necessary for the expression of the PLL gene. However, the finding that (2 x 13) F1 lymph node and spleen cells were more effective than (2 x 13)F1 bone marrow cell populations (known to be a rich source of monocyte precursors) suggests that the cells in which the PLL gene function is expressed may be lymphocytes rather than monocytes and macrophages.