In short-term cultures of thymocytes from tetanus toxoid-immunized mice, the addition of 1 ng of toxoid generated the release of a soluble factor which was capable of enhancing the immune response to a heterologous immunogen. The addition of supernatants from such cultures to assay cultures of sheep erythrocyte-stimulated normal spleen cells produced a significant augmentation of the hemolytic plaque response. Culture fluid from similar cultures of normal thymocytes or primed thymocytes cultured without the priming antigen were inactive. The enhancing factor was nondialyzable, heat stable (56°C, 30 min), resistant to DNAse and RNAse, but was inactivated by protease. A factor produced by specifically stimulated primed spleen cells had similar characteristics. In toxoid-stimulated, mixed cell cultures containing primed thymocytes or spleen cells and normal spleen cells, tenfold fewer thymocytes than spleen cells were needed to produce a comparable degree of enhancement of the anti-sheep erythrocyte plaque-forming cell response.

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