An adoptive transfer system was used to study the cellular basis of memory in animals immunized by grafting with major histocompatibility complex incompatible tissue. Memory was characterised by a large (greater than 100 fold) increase in the potency of lymphocytes to precure graft rejection. This increase in potency endured for at least 1 yr after sensitization. The memory cells were shown to be Ig-- small lymphocytes which were long lived and which did not recirculate from blood to lymph in normal recipients although they did home to lymphoid tissue from which they could be recovered several months later. The thymus was not required either for the generation of memory cells or their maintenance. Cells carrying memory for alloantibody synthesis did recirculate normally but alloantibody synthesis was shown not to be required for rejection.

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