Peyer's patch T cells may serve an important role in the interaction of the host with intraluminal gut antigens. Studies presented in this paper demonstrate that T cells in murine Peyer's patches can be carrier primed for helper function in the induction of an antihapten response by feeding antigen. Carrier priming was assessed by measuring the ability of Peyer's patch cells from mice fed heterologous erythrocytes to enhance an antitrinitrophenyl (TNP) response in vitro when added to normal Peyer's patch cells cultured with TNP coupled to the erythrocyte used for feeding. Priming of T helper cells in Peyer's patches was antigen specific and occurred when erythrocytes were administered orally but not when erythrocytes were injected intravenously or intraperitoneally. Murine Peyer's patches are naturally deficient in a cooperating accessory adherent cell type(s) required for B-cell induction to humoral antibody synthesis in vitro and antigen feeding does not result in significant induction of Peyer's patch B cells to humoral antibody synthesis in vivo. Since Peyer's patch T cells can be carrier-antigen primed for helper function in the absence of B-cell induction to humoral antibody synthesis, these studies may indicate that T-cell priming is less dependent than B-cell induction on cooperating accessory adherent cells.

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