Both thymus-derived (T) and bone marrow-derived (B) lymphocytes participate in the response to a hapten 4-hydroxy-3-iodo-5-nitrophenylacetic acid (NIP), coupled to a nonimmunogenic isologous carrier, mouse gamma globulin (MGG). Spleen cells from mice immunized with NIP-MGG show increased DNA synthesis in vitro when cultured with NIP-MGG. The participation of and requirement for T cells in the response was demonstrated by treating the spleen cells with anti-θ serum. This treatment resulted in a 77% inhibition of the antigen response. Furthermore, adoptively transferred normal thymus cells could be specifically "activated" by NIP-MGG in vivo and they responded secondarily to the antigen in vitro.
The active participation of B cells in the secondary response was demonstrated by passing the immune spleen cells through a column coated with polyvalent anti-MGG serum. Column filtration reduced the number of NIP-specific plaque-forming cells and NIP-specific rosette-forming cells (both functions of B cells) and produced a 47% inhibition of the NIP-MGG response. The ability of the cells to respond to phytohemagglutinin (PHA) was not affected by column filtration showing that T cells were not being selectively removed. The participation of B cells in the in vitro NIP-MGG response was also shown by treatment of the spleen cells with antiserum specific for MGG and MGG determinants. B cells were removed by treatment with anti-IgM or polyvalent anti-MGG serum plus complement, resulting in a respective 46 and 49% inhibition of the response to NIP-MGG. (Treatment with anti-IgM serum had no effect on T cells.)
The contribution of the hapten NIP to stimulation of T cells was investigated using NIP-MGG-activated thymus cells. These activated T cells responded in vitro very well to the NIP-MGG complex but not to the MGG carrier alone demonstrating the requirement of the hapten for T cell stimulation. The response was also partially inhibited (41%) by incubating the activated cells with NIP coupled to a single amino acid (epsilon-aminocaproic acid) before addition of NIP-MGG. These results demonstrated that T cells recognize the hapten NIP when it is coupled to the isologous carrier MGG.