Previous reports from our laboratory have demonstrated the stimulation of specific suppressor T cells in genetic nonresponder mice after immunization with the terpolymer of L- glutamic acid, L-alanine, and L-tyrosine (GAT) (1,2) and with the copolymer of L-glutamic acid and L-tyrosine (GT) (3-5). These findings raise two important questions: (a) do the specific suppressor T cells inhibit an antibody response which would otherwise develop in nonresponder mice; and, (b) can specific helper T cells inhibit an antibody response which would otherwise develop in nonresponder mice; and, (b) can specific helper T-cell activity be detected in these animals. Responsiveness appears to be completely dominant over suppression in (responder x suppressor)F(1) hybrids, therefore, we have been unable to detect suppressor cells in these hybrids after conventional immunization with GAT (2). However , using special conditions of antigen administration, GAT helper activity could be demonstrated in nonresponder DBA/1 (suppressor) mice. Thus, GAT-specific helper activity was not detected in these nonresponder animals after immunization with GAT irrespective of the adjuvant used, but could be stimulated by macrophage-bound GAT or by GAT complexed with methylated bovine serum albumin GAT-MBSA (6).
In the current report we have taken advantage of the fact that suppressor T-cell activity is more sensitive to cyclophosphamide treatment than T-cell helper activity (7) to demonstrate the presence of GT-specific helper activity in nonresponder BALB/c mice. We describe: (a) the dose of cyclophosphamide and conditions of treatment which inhibits the well-documented stimulation of specific suppressor T cells in BALB/c mice injected with GT previous to immunization with GT-MBSA, and (b) the ability of cyclophosphamide to permit the development of primary PFC responses to GT in these nonresponder mice.
These cyclophosphamide-induced responses are not characterized by the high levels of antibody detected in genetic responder animals.