Unprimed mouse spleen cells cultured in vitro on syngeneic tumor cell monolayers have been previously shown to become specifically sensitized and to mediate cytotoxicity against the same type of tumor cells. This complete in vitro system of cell-mediated response has been presently used to test the effect of a thymic humoral factor (THF) upon the differentiation process leading to the generation of specifically committed lymphocytes. Culture media were supplemented with 2% THF during either the sensitization or effector phase, or both phases of the reaction. Whereas the addition of THF during both phases or during sensitization only resulted in a significant increase in the cytotoxicity index, THF added during the effector phase was ineffective. The behavior of unsensitized spleen cells and of spleen cells sensitized against nonrelated transplantation antigens remained unmodified by THF. After showing that the entire reaction is mediated by lymphocytes of thymic origin, THF was directly tested on T or B spleen cells. It was found that only T cells reacted to THF by an increased cytotoxic capacity, while B cells remained inactive after addition of THF. It was therefore concluded that THF activates a postthymic population of lymphoid cells, transforming them into fully competent lymphocytes.

This content is only available as a PDF.