Mouse spleen cells, cultured on surfaces coated with antigen-antibody complexes, are inhibited from responding to the B-cell mitogens, lipopolysaccharide, lipid A, Pneumococcal polysaccharide SIII, and poly I:C. The response to the T-cell mitogen, concanavalin A, is also substantially inhibited by immobilized antigen-antibody complexes, but specific inhibition of the response to phytohemagglutinin is minimal. Control experiments showed that immobilized complexes prepared from IgG F(ab')2 fragments and IgA antibodies (both of which fail to bind to Fc receptors when complexed to antigen) did not show significant inhibitory activity when compared with the inhibition observed with complexes prepared from whole IgG. Suspensions of antigen-antibody complexes prepared from the same antigen and intact IgG antibody did not inhibit mitogenesis. None of the mitogens used could be demonstrated to compete with the binding of aggregated immunoglobulin to the B-cell Fc receptor. It appears that the interaction of Fc receptor-bearing lymphocytes and/or macrophages with immobilized complexes prevents lymphocyte activation by mitogens. It is suggested that the mechanism(s) involved may be relevant to antibody feedback control of the humoral immune response.

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