The capacity of cells from different lymphoid tissues obtained from Balb/c mice to produce graft-vs.-host (GVH) reactions was quantitatively determined in C57BL/6N by Balb/c F1 hybrid recipients. Synergistic responses were observed when small numbers of cells from lymphoid tissues that were rich in GVH activity such as spleen and femoral lymph node were combined with weakly reactive thymus cells. Thymus and spleen cells obtained from 1-wk old mice were separately inactive but produced moderate GVH reactions when combined in equal proportions. GVH activity of spleen cells from mice thymectomized at 3 days of age was partially restored by the addition of small numbers of spleen or thymus cells from adult mice. Changes in ratio between the two cell populations markedly affected the degree of synergy. Synergy was not observed when Balb/c cells were combined with Balb/c x C57BL/6N F1 hybrid cells and inoculated into C57BL/6N recipients, but was demonstrated when Balb/c and C57BL/6N cells were combined and inoculated into F1 recipients, indicating that a genetic disposition to mount GVH reactions in both populations is required to produce synergy. The data indicate that at least two cell types are necessary for GVH reactions, and that synergy between cell populations results from favorable adjustments in the ratio between these two cell types.

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