Immunological memory has been induced in vitro against testicular autoantigens by priming normal rat T lymphocytes against autologous testis cells, and by permitting the isolated blast cells to revert back to small secondary lymphocytes (secondary EAO cells) in the absence of the priming antigen. The secondary EAO cells vigorously respond in a secondary response when reconfronted with syngeneic testis or lymphoid cells. Their responsiveness to nonself stimulator cells is, however, reduced. Secondary cells derived from concanavalin A-stimulated blasts, do not show that pattern of specificity. The specificity of the secondary EAO cells is definite, and cannot be affected by further culture on allogeneic fibroblasts, which are antigenic for unprimed T lymphocytes. At least part of the autoantigens are determined by the major histocompatibility gene complex (MHC). Factors provided by the culture system do not appear to determine the specificity of this reaction. Only minor cell populations can restimulate secondary EAO cells. One of these populations is presumably phage-like cells within the lymphoid populations can elicit a secondary EAO response. Thus, the autoantigens relevant in the secondary EAO response are either MHC antigens restricted to these testicular and lymphoid subpopulations, or MHC antigens recognized in conjunction with organ-specific non-MHC determinants.

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