A graft-vs.-host (GVH) reaction was initiated by the intravenous injection of parental strain (AO) lymphocytes into irradiated (AO times HO)F1 or (AO times DA)F1 hybrids. The proportion of donor T cells which had responded to the F1 hybrid antigens within 24 h was estimated by two methods. (a) Donor lymphocytes were labeled with [3H]uridine in vitro before injection. The proportion of labeled cells which had morphologically transformed in the recipient's spleen was 17-19%. In both series of experiments syngeneic transfers were performed in which case the proportion of transformed cells was 1-2.4%. A similar low proportion was found after parental to F1 transfer in a non-Ag-B strain combination. These figures were used to calculate the frequency of responding cells in the injected population given three additional pieces of information: (a) the extent of selection in the spleen which transformed the estimate to 4.5%-6.0% responders; (b) division of donor cells was shown to be negligible under the conditions of the experiment; and (c) the nonspecific recruitment of lymphocytes was shown to be negligible. A speculative model of antigen recognition by T cells which accounts for the high proportion of responders is outlined.

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