T cell-dependent activation of resident tissue mast cells is required for the elicitation of delayed-type hypersensitivity skin reactions in mice. A T cell-derived antigen-binding factor that transfers the ability to elicit an immediate hypersensitivity-like skin reaction is described and compared with a hybridoma IgE antibody. Both the T cell factor and IgE mediate reactions with increased vascular permeability and both are mast cell dependent, as they are inactive in two different types of mast cell deficient mice (W/Wv and Sl/Sld). The T cell factor was distinguished from IgE by affinity chromatography using specific anti-IgE and anti-factor antibodies and by a shorter duration of passive sensitization. The T cell factor is a suitable candidate for participation in the mechanism by which T cells activate mast cells in delayed-type hypersensitivity.

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