Sera taken from AKR/J mice 7 d after the intravenous injection of 2,4,6-trinitrophenyl-lys-Ficoll (TNP-F) caused a specific inhibition of anti- trinitrophenol (TNP) plaque-forming cells (PFC) in vitro. This inhibition was reversed by the incorporation of 10(-8)-10(-7) M 2,4,6-trinitrophenyl- ε-amino-n-caproic acid (TNP-EACA) into the agar during the PFC assay. The factor responsible for the hapten-reversible PFC inhibition was removed from serum by passage through an anti-immunoglobulin column or through a 2,4,-dinitrophenyl-human-serum-albumin-bromoacetylcellulose plus anti-TNP- antibody column, but not by DNP-HSA-BAC alone. It was concluded that this immunoglobulin-like substance, lacking anti-TNP activity but reacting with anti-TNP antibody of AKR/J origin, was most likely an auto-anti-idiotypie antibody that had been produced during the normal course of the response of AKR/J mice to TNP-F. Pools of anti-idiotypic-antibody-containing antisera inhibited anti-TNP plaque formation to varying degrees when tested on d-4 PFC from different mice of the same inbred strain, suggesting a variability in idiotype expression.
4 d after transfer of immune (7 d after 10 μg TNP-F, administered intravenously) AKR/J spleen cells plus 10 μg TNP-F into syngeneic mice, the number of PFC detectable in the recipients' spleens could be markedly augmented by the inclusion of TNP-EACA in the agar during the PFC assay. Incubation of spleen cells containing such hapten-augmentable PFC with TNP- EACA yielded a factor in the supernate that caused a specific, in vitro, hapten-reversible inhibition of anti-TNP PFC. Studies with immunoadsorbents indicated that this PFC-inhibiting factor was antigenically immunoglobulin- like, lacked anti-TNP-antibody activity, but reacted with anti-TNP antibody of AKR/J origin. The results are consistent with the view that this PFC inhibitor is auto-anti-idiotypic antibody that is involved in the normal regulation of the immune response.
It is proposed that hapten-reversible inhibition of plaque formation can be employed as an assay for anti-idiotypic antibody and the conditions for such an assay are described. It is further proposed that the detection of hapten-augmentable PFC suggests the presence of auto-anti-idiotypic antibody.