Strong stimulation of DNA synthesis (up to 150-fold) and blast transformation can be induced in mouse spleen cells by Fc fragments of human IgG. The mitogenic response is optimal on day 5 of culture and is dependent on the concentration of Fc fragments with a sedimentation rate of 3-5S. Intact IgG is also stimulatory, but only when modified by heat aggregation, and produces only a 10-fold increase in [3H]thymidine uptake. The stimulation by aggregated IgG is dependent on the Fc portion, since aggregated (or soluble) Fab or F(ab')2 fragments are inactive. The results show that the response is T-cell independent and that it is a function of nylon wool adherent, surface Ig-positive, Fc receptor-bearing B lymphocytes. Fc fragments do not induce plaque-forming cells to human IgG in normal mouse spleen cell cultures, but rather trigger polyclonal antibody synthesis (anti-goat erythrocytes, anti-2,4,6-trinitrophenyl). It is postulated that the Fc region of antibodies plays a role in the regulation of the humoral immune response by triggering clonal expansion of B lymphocytes.

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