When thoracic duct lymphocytes (TDL) from mice given sheep erythrocytes (SRC) 1 day previously (1-day-primed TDL) were placed in microcultures with antigen for 5-6 days, the cells failed to produce antibody to SRC, but responded well to horse erythrocytes (HRC); reciprocal results were obtained with TDL from HRC-injected mice. The specific unresponsiveness of the TDL was observed despite the presence of an allogeneic factor in the cultures; this factor exerted not only a macrophage-like effect (TDL from normal mice failed to respond in the absence of this factor) but also a T-cell-replacing function. It was concluded therefore that the unresponsiveness of the TDL was the result of selective recruitment of specific B lymphocyte precursors from the recirculating lymphocyte pool to the lymphoid tissues; whether there was also recruitment of specific T lymphocytes was not investigated. Since addition of 1-day-primed TDL to cultures of normal TDL did not inhibit the response of the latter, there was no evidence that active suppression accounted for the unresponsiveness. The spleen appeared to be the main site for recruitment since 1-day-primed spleen cells placed in microcultures contained above normal numbers of specifically-reactive precursors. This was in striking contrast to the effect of transferring 1-day-primed spleen cells in vivo where, as previously reported, the cells fail to respond to the injected antigen within 1 wk of transfer. An explanation for this paradox is discussed.

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