This paper deals with the CBA/N mice, a strain bearing a genetic defect in their B-cell compartment. By using a previously described system we have been able to show that the immature cells of CBA/N mice are functionally indistinguishable from normal immature cells, in that both can be triggered to respond to thymus-independent (TI) antigens, provided they are supplied with helper T cells. When the maturation is completed, CBA/N B cells are unable to respond to TI antigens (like lipopolysaccharide and polyvinyl pyrrolidine) irrespective of the presence of helper T cells, whereas normal mature B cells have grown able to respond without any help. These data allow us to reject the hypothesis that CBA/N mice are arrested at an immature stage and clearly support the idea that they have deviated during development so that only thymus-dependent B cells develop.

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