The role of delta-positive cells in the immune response was studied by comparing the effects of treatment with allotype-specific IgD hybridoma antibody on homozygous BALB/c or SJL/J and heterozygous (BALB x SJL)F1 mice. Homozygous mice, injected from birth with the relevant anti-delta antibody, made primary or secondary immune responses to intravenously injected trinitrophenyl (TNP)-Brucella abortus, TNP-Ficoll, and TNP-keyhole limpet hemocyanin, which did not differ significantly from those of control mice, despite the fact that IgD+ cells were depleted and Ig+ cells were markedly reduced in the spleens of treated mice. Responses in nodes draining a local injection of TNP-Brucella abortus were, however, significantly suppressed. Heterozygous mice, injected from birth with either anti-Ig-5a or anti-Ig-5b, showed a marked reduction in the number cells producing IgG antibody of linked allotype specificity in the secondary response to intravenously injected sheep erythrocytes. A corresponding decrease in the amount of serum IgG2a of that allotype specificity was also noted. However, in agreement with the results obtained in homozygotes, heterozygotes injected simultaneously with anti-IgD directed against each of the allotypes made normal, if not enhanced, plaque-forming cell responses of both allotype specificities. Similarly, serum IgG2a levels were normal in all but one mouse treated in this fashion. These results indicate that IgD+ cells are not essential for an immune response in vivo. Although the delta-positive cell is used preferentially under normal conditions, it appears that an alternative mechanism exists by which, in the absence of these cells, the animal is able to make a normal immune response.

This content is only available as a PDF.