This paper reports a model system of cellular immunity in which allosensitization of mouse spleen cells is induced in vitro. Allosensitization was achieved by culturing spleen cells upon monolayers of allogeneic fibroblasts. The ability of the spleen cells to inhibit the growth of tumor allografts in vivo served as a functional assay of sensitization. We found that unsensitized spleen cells or spleen cells sensitized against unrelated fibroblast antigens had no inhibitory effect on the growth of allogeneic fibrosarcoma cells when they were injected together into irradiated recipients. In contrast, spleen cells which were specifically allosensitized in vitro were found to be highly effective in inhibiting the growth of an equal number of allogeneic tumor cells. Several times more spleen cells from mice sensitized in vivo were required to produce a similar immune effect. This confirms the findings of previous studies which indicate that sensitization in cell culture can promote the selection of specifically sensitized lymphocytes.
Preincubating sensitizing fibroblasts with allo-antisera blocked the allosensitization of spleen cells. This suggests that antibodies binding to fibroblasts may inhibit the induction of sensitization by competing with lymphocytes for antigenic sites.
Mouse spleen cells which were able to recognize and reject tumor allografts in vivo were unable to cause lysis of target fibroblasts in vitro. Such fibroblasts, however, were susceptible to lysis by rat lymphoid cells sensitized by a similar in vitro method. These findings indicate that the conditions required for lymphocyte-mediated lysis of target cells may not be directly related to the processes of antigen recognition and allograft rejection in vivo.