The effect of passively transfered antiserum against sheep erythrocytes (SRBC) on the antigen stimulated increase of SRBC-specific plaque-forming cells (anti-SRBC-PFC) and SRBC-specific thymus-derived lymphocytes (SRBC-specific T-cells) in the mouse spleen was examined. A dose of antiserum which severely suppressed the development of anti-SRBC-PFC did not prevent the increase in SRBC-specific T-cells, as measured by their ability to cooperate in the in vitro response to trinitrophenylated (TNP) SRBC. It was shown that the insensitivity of these T-cells to antiserum could not be explained by their low antigen requirement as compared to that of PFC.
In the in vivo response of mice to TNP-SRBC, antibody specific for TNP suppressed the appearance of both anti-TNP- and anti-SRBC-PFC. The presence of free SRBC specifically prevented the suppression of the anti-SRBC-PFC. These observations are consistent with opsonization by phagocytic cells as the primary means of the observed suppression of PFC development by antibody.