Although athymic mice make an excellent immune response to the thymus-independent antigen trinitrophenyl-lys-Ficoll (TNP-F), nude mice of AKR/J and BALB/c strains lack the anti-idiotypic response that occurs in euthymic mice of both of these strains within the first 1--2 wk after injection of more TNP-F. Anti-idiotypic antibody-blocked (hapten-augmentable) anti-TNP splenic plaque-forming cells (PFC) do not occur at any time and serum anti-idiotypic antibody is absent in both congenitally athymic mice, and thymectomized, irradiated, bone marrow-reconstituted mice. Nevertheless, nu/nu mice do have PFC which can be inhibited by exposure to anti-idiotypic antibody produced in +/+ mice. As a consequence of the failure to produce anti-idiotypic antibodies, the anti-TNP PFC response is athymic as compared to euthymic mice is of greater magnitude, declines less precipitously, and shows an increase rather than a decrease in affinity between days 4 and 7 after antigen injection. It is concluded that the anti-idiotypic antibody response is thymus dependent and that athymic mice lack a helper cell required for the induction of anti-idiotypic antibodies.

This content is only available as a PDF.