The cellular requirements for the development of primary IgG GAT-specific PFC responses in cultures of spleen cells from responder, C57Bl/6, mice stimulated with GAT and GAT-MBSA and in cultures of spleen cells from nonresponder, SJL and B10.S, mice stimulated with GAT-MBSA were investigated. Macrophages were required for development of responses to GAT and GAT-MBSA in cultures of spleen cells from responder mice and for responses to GAT-MBSA in cultures of spleen cells from nonresponder mice. Macrophages from nonresponder mice supported the development of responses to GAT by nonadherent responder spleen cells, indicating that the failure of nonresponder mice to respond to GAT is not due to a macrophage defect. Furthermore, responder macrophages supported the responses of nonadherent, nonresponder spleen cells to SRBC and GAT-MBSA, but not to GAT. This indicates that the capacity to respond to GAT is a function of the nonadherent population which is composed of thymus-derived (T) helper cells and precursors of antibody-producing cells. Treatment of spleen cells with anti-theta serum and complement before culture initiation abolished PFC responses to GAT and GAT-MBSA thus establishing the requirement for T cells in the development of PFC responses to these antigens.
Since precursors of antibody-producing cells in nonresponder mice are capable of synthesizing antibody specific for GAT after stimulation with GAT-MBSA and since the response to GAT is thymus-dependent, it appears that nonresponder mice lack GAT-specific helper T cell function.