Following the injection of typhoid antigen or sheep erythrocytes into the pad of the rabbit's hind foot, lymph from the efferent lymphatic of the popliteal lymph node was collected and analyzed for antibody content.
On separating the lymphocytes from the lymph plasma, it was found that the antibody titer of the cell extract was substantially and consistently higher than that of the surrounding fluid. This difference was greatest at the time of greatest rate of increase of antibody titer in the whole lymph, rather than when the antibody titer of the lymph plasma was highest.
These results can only be interpreted to mean that the lymphocytes either produce antibodies or take them up from the lymph plasma. Incubation in vitro of lymphocytes containing one species of antibody with lymph plasma containing another showed that antibodies pass from the cells to the supernatant lymph fluid to reach approximate equilibrium; acquisition of antibody from supernatant lymph fluid was not observed. Similar results were obtained when normal lymphocytes were allowed to incubate in vivo in their own lymph fluid to which antibodies had been added. It was again found that antibodies were not absorbed or adsorbed by lymphocytes. These results seem to indicate that lymphocytes are instrumental in the formation of antibodies.