Mice of the inbred strains, C57BL/6 and C57BL/10 (H-2b), are genetically incapable of developing IgE antibody responses to ragweed pollen extract (RE) or its dinitrophenylated derivative, DNP-RE. This nonresponsiveness has previously been thought to reflect the absence of a relevant H-2-linked Ir genes controlling responses of inbred mice to these antigens. However, pretreatment of H-2b mice with either low doses of ionizing X irradiation or cyclophosphamide abrogates the nonresponder status of such animals, apparently by removal of a suppressive mechanism normally inhibiting development of IgE responses to these antigens. The implications of these findings for mechanisms of genetic control of IgE antibody synthesis and the Ir-gene concept are discussed.

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