The role of macrophages and lymphocytes in antigen-induced transformation of lymphocytes has been investigated. Lymphocytes and macrophages were obtained from inbred strain 13 guinea pigs which were either unimmunized or immunized with complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) or tetanus toxoid in CFA. The transformation response to PPD or tetanus toxoid was assayed by tritiated thymidine incorporation.
Addition of macrophages to immune lymphocytes significantly increased their response to purified protein derivative (PPD) or tetanus toxoid. This was observed if the macrophages were (a) "immune" or "nonimmune", (b) unirradiated or irradiated (3000 R), (c) 99% pure, and (d) peritoneal or alveolar in origin. Neither immune nor nonimmune macrophages were able to induce nonimmune lymphocytes to respond to PPD or tetanus toxoid. When macrophages were incubated with PPD or tetanus toxoid and then washed, they stimulated immune lymphocytes to transform. An incubation time of ½ hr was adequate, however, 2–4: hr was optimal.
These studies indicate (a) that antigen-induced transformation of lymphocytes is greatly enhanced by macrophages; (b) that macrophage-antigen interaction can antecede lymphocyte-antigen interaction and results in macrophages which are able to stimulate lymphocyte transformation; and (c) that the immunological memory requisite to elicit specific transformation responses is a property of the lymphocyte and not the macrophage.