The relative functional maturity of neonatal mouse spleen T- and B-cell populations was assessed by comparing the ability to respond to the thymic-independent antigen, DNP-Ficoll, or thymic-dependent SRBC by producing antibody in vitro. Although mouse spleen cells responded to DNP-Ficoll at an earlier age than they responded to SRBC or TNP-SRBC, the reason for the lag in the T-dependent response was confounded by the finding of high numbers of suppressor T lymphocytes in the neonatal spleen. Thus, small numbers of neonatal spleen T cells or thymocytes significantly decreased the in vitro antibody response of adult spleen cells. Although B lymphocytes appear to be functionally mature soon after birth, their acitivity may be modulated by an excess of suppressor T cells; e.g., the reconstitution of helper cell function in the neonatal spleen required anti-theta treatment before addition of adult helper cells. Suppressive activity attributable to T cells seems to play a dominant role in determining the ability of the neonatal animal to react positively or negatively to antigenic stimulation.
Ontogeny of mouse lymphocyte function. II. Development of the ability to produce antibody is modulated by T lymphocytes.
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D E Mosier, B M Johnson; Ontogeny of mouse lymphocyte function. II. Development of the ability to produce antibody is modulated by T lymphocytes.. J Exp Med 1 January 1975; 141 (1): 216–226. doi: https://doi.org/10.1084/jem.141.1.216
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