The simultaneous use on mouse lymphoid suspensions of heterologous antisera directed against thymus-derived (T) cell mouse-specific lymphocyte antigen and brain-associated theta antigen (MSLA and BAθ) or thymus-independent (B) cell mouse-specific bone marrow-derived lymphocyte antigen (MBLA) surface antigens allowed direct proof of the different specificity of these antisera by double immunofluorescence (IF) staining with selective visualization of fluorochromes. These antisera and antisera against mouse Ig and its different types of chains were then used with technique of either double IF staining or IF combined with radioautography, allowing the following conclusions:
(a) Surface Ig (sIg) was found exclusively on B cells and never on T cells, but not all B cells had sIg. Cells containing detectable amounts of Ig were MBLA+, but had less sIg than other B cells or none at all. There was evidence for the existence of a significant number of MBLA+ lymphocytes, neither bearing nor containing detectable Ig.
(b) µ-Chains were the most frequent but not the only heavy chains found on spleen cells; however, it could not be decided with the technique used, if a single cell can bear more than one type of heavy chain. No cell containing γ-chains was found to bear surface µ-chains, although a very few cells containing both µ- and γ-chains were observed.
(c) The antigen-binding cells detected after immunization with bacteriophage T4, bovine serum albumin, Maia squinado hemocyanin, and sheep erythrocytes were analyzed for MSLA, MBLA or sIg using double IF, a combination of IF and radioautography, or inhibition of "rosette" formation. Practically all the antigen-binding cells detected were MSLA-, MBLA+, sIg+.
(d) More B cells than T cells were found among short-lived lymphoid cells labeled by repeated in vivo injections of tritiated thymidine, but the results did not support a simplified concept equating T cells to long-lived and B cells to short-lived lymphocytes.
(e) Cells dividing rapidly in the lymph nodes draining the sites of immunization with various antigens were predominantly T cells 2 days after immunization and in majority B cells a few days later.
(f) Incubation of lymphoid cells at 37°C with rabbit anti-mouse Ig or anti-κ chains led to complete disappearance of sIg and to decrease of MBLA ("antigenic modulation"). In the same conditions, anti-MBLA gave partial modulation of MBLA and of sIg; MBLA, however, reappeared much faster than sIg. No modulation of T cell surface antigens by the appropriate antisera was observed. Cell treatment with Pronase could remove MBLA, sIg, MSLA, and BAθ, which reappeared within a few hours. Neuraminidase treatment was without detectable effect on these antigens.