C57BL/10 female mice were primed to the male specific antigen H-Y, either by grafting with syngeneic male tail skin or by i.p. injection of syngeneic male spleen cells. Primed female spleen cells, either unseparated or filtered through nylon wool to remove most of the B lymphocytes, were then cultured for 5 days in vitro with irradiated syngeneic male spleen cells and assayed against 51Cr-labeled target cells. Both unseparated and nylon wool filtered female cells displayed significant cytotoxic activity restricted to male target cells. Pretreatment of sensitized female cells with antitheta serum and complement just before assay abolished cytotoxic responses. We were unable to demonstrate cell-mediated cytotoxic responses into two nonresponding strains, CBA and B10.A, which fail to reject male isografts. The cytotoxic activity of C57BL/10 female cells was restricted to male target cells histocompatible with C57BL/10 over at least a portion of the major (H-2) histocompatibility complex. We conclude that secondary in vitro cytotoxic responses against the H-Y antigen are mediated by cytotoxic T lymphocytes, and that the H-Y target cell antigen may be specified by the H-2 complex.

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