Spleen cells from mice immunized against ovalbumin (OA) or dinitrophenylated mouse serum albumin (DM) were found to be specifically cytotoxic in vitro towards target cells (chicken red blood cells) coated with these antigens. Inhibition of specific cytotoxicity was observed when free soluble antigen was added to the incubation mixtures. DM-immune cell cytotoxicity could be specifically and completely inhibited by DNP-lysine and was thus shown to be hapten specific. Complete and specific inhibition was also observed for OA-immune cell cytotoxicity using OA as inhibitor, but compared with the inhibition curves obtained with DNP-lysine, the OA cytotoxicity inhibition curves were shifted by a factor of about one hundred towards lower molar inhibitor concentrations. Very similar results were observed when the serum antibodies of DM- and OA-immune animals were analyzed by passive hemagglutination inhibition. With increasing time after immunization, both cytotoxicity inhibition curves and agglutination inhibition curves, shifted to lower antigen or hapten concentrations.
Specific cytotoxicity against antigen-coated target cells was induced in nonimmune spleen cells (a) by serum from immune animals, and (b) by supernatants from in vitro immune cell cultures. In both instances, the factor which induced antigen-specific cytotoxic activity could be absorbed on anti-mouse Ig columns, thus demonstrating its immunoglobulin nature. The ability of target cell bound antibodies to induce cytotoxicity in nonimmune spleen cells was restricted to the 7S antibody class.