The mixed leukocyte culture (MLC) test is an in vitro model of the recognition phase of the homograft response. For the most part, activation in MLC is dependent on differences of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Our present studies in the mouse suggest that activation is primarily associated with differences of genetic regions of the MHC other than those which control the serologically defined (H-2) antigens. These differences do not lead to cytotoxic or agglutinating antibody formation despite extensive immunization; we have called these differences lymphocyte-defined (LD) differences. The strongest stimulation in MLC is associated with differences of the Ir region. It is possible that the Ir product is the T cell receptor and that it is this same molecule which can act as the stimulatory agent in MLC. Other possibilities are discussed.

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