Newborn, 7–9 day, and 16–18 day old NZB and B/W mice were, unlike older New Zealand mice, rendered tolerant to single doses of 8–10 mg of soluble BGG. After challenge, this tolerance was of short duration and escape occurred rapidly. Age-matched and similarly treated C3H, Balb/c and C57Bl mice did not escape from tolerance. Partial tolerance could be maintained by repeated injections of BGG.
Biofiltration ruled out hyperphagocytosis as an explanation for this resistance to tolerance. Tolerance could be induced in older B/W mice if they were thymectomized, irradiated, and repopulated with young (12–15 day), but not old (2–3 month), spleen or bone marrow cells. Old bone marrow cells gave a non-tolerant response even when combined with young thymic grafts. Young bone marrow gave a tolerant response which was followed by the expected rapid escape only if a young thymus graft was also present. Escape was retarded if old thymus, or old irradiated thymus, was combined with young bone marrow. These results are best explained by abnormalities of both lymphoid precursors and thymic regulation.