Thymus-dependent protein antigens such as fowl gamma globulin (FGG) and dinitrophenylated-human gamma globulin (DNP-HGG), readily induced tolerance of the B cell in the absence of T cells even when these antigens were not deaggregated. However, when the same doses of antigen were given in the presence of T cells, the B-cell population was shown to be protected from tolerance induction, especially when the antigen was not in a deaggregated form. In this case, there was in fact evidence of a priming effect, manifest in both the B-cell and T-cell populations. The priming effect on the B-cell population was demonstrated by an increased response of mice pretreated with DNP-HGG, upon challenge with DNP conjugated to a heterologous carrier. The priming effect on the T-cell population was evident in a helper effect demonstrated in vitro. However, when euthymic mice which had been pretreated with large doses of FGG or DNP-HGG were challenged with the homologous carrier, the results were different. In this case, there was a profound suppression of the response against the carrier or the hapten on that carrier. Suppressor activity was also demonstrated in vitro and was shown to be sensitive to treatment with anti-theta-serum plus complement. Additionally it was shown that the effector phase of the suppression had a definite nonantigen-specific component. Thus, in pretreated euthymic mice, provided the homologous carrier was present, the response to a heterologous carrier was also suppressed. To account for the observation that nondeaggregated antigens can induce B-cell tolerance in athymic mice, but B-cell priming and T-cell-mediated suppression in euthymic mice, it is proposed that B-cell tolerance occurs when antigen at some critical dose interacts with the B cell in the absence of some second signal. This second signal is normally provided by the macrophage, probably with the assistance of the T cell, and its effect is to divert the result of the interaction of the B cell with antigen towards immunization and away from tolerance induction. When a large dose of an antigen that tends to form aggregates is given to an animal possessing functional T cells, both T-dependent helper and T-dependent suppressor activities are generated, thus accounting for a situation where the B-cell population is immunized, but B-cell activation is suppressed in the presence of the original carrier.

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