The primary purpose of this study has been to validate the in vitro graft-vs.-host reaction as an experimental system. Time-dose studies have been presented for cells obtained from spleen, thymus, cortisone-treated thymus, inguinal lymph node, mesenteric lymph node, thoracic duct, and bone marrow cells. Both the degree of splenomegaly and the onset of spleen enlargement were found to be dependent on the number and source of cells tested.

The effect of several immunosuppressive agents was examined. Amantadine was found to suppress completely the graft-vs.-host reaction in vitro when present at a concentration of 75 µg/ml. Pretreatment of effector cells with mitomycin C prevented their subsequent ability to cause a graft-vs.-host reaction. The effect of X irradiation on immunocompetence of spleen cells in vitro paralleled the known effect of irradiation on in vivo immunocompetence.

Preimmunization did not increase the number or effectiveness of immunocompetent cells when measured under standard in vitro conditions. Preimmunization did, however, permit persistence of immunocompetence after immunosuppressive doses of X irradiation. Studies using congenic lines, moreover, indicated that the preimmunization effect could be demonstrated in strain combinations differing only in factors determined by the H-2 complex of genes.

A weak graft-vs.-host reaction could be detected in strain combinations not involving differences at the H-2 locus. The potential of the in vitro graft-vs.-host reaction as a highly reproducible, quantifiable, internally controlled, and experimentally accessible system for study of such critical problems as cell differentiation and cell interactions is discussed.

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