The X-linked CBA/N defect in B cell function precludes an antibody response to phosphorylcholine (PC). Accordingly, (CBA/N X BALB/c)F1 male mice are unresponsive to PC and lack circulating immunoglobulin bearing the T15 idiotype characteristic of BALB/C anti-PC antibody. In contrast, (CBA/N X BALB/c)F1 female mice respond to PC and greater than 80% of the anti-PC antibody is T15+. No T-cell abnormalities are known to be associated with the CBA/N mutation. These experiments compared the ability of helper T cells from either (CBA/N X BALB/c)F1 male (T15-) or F1 female (T15+) mice to help F1 female B cells respond to PC and to influence the level of T15 expression. The results indicate that although F1 male T cells collaborated with F1 female B cells just as efficiently as F1 female T cells for the total anti-PC response, the percentage of T15 expression induced by F1 male T cells fell dramatically. The (CBA/N X BALB/c)F1 male thus appear to lack a helper T-cell subset required for dominant idiotype production. This helper T cell defect could be repaired by adding F1 female T cells primed to a second carrier to F1 male T cells and restimulating the cell mixture with PC coupled to the antigen used to prime the F1 male cells plus free second carrier. This result implies that conventional helper T cells derived from the F1 male donor can collaborate with a distinct helper T-cell subset from the F1 female donor which recognizes both carrier and idiotype to induce an anti-PC antibody response dominated by the T15 clonotype.

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