Addition of histoincompatible lymphocytes can influence the course of ongoing immune responses. Such allogeneic effects may either augment or diminish immune responses. We describe here the minimal genetic differences necessary to generate positive allogeneic effects (allohelp) in a humoral immune response.
The antibody response to sheep erythrocytes of T celldepleted mouse spleen cells was reconstituted by addition of syngeneic or allogeneic nylon wool column-passaged spleen T cells. T cells were pretreated with mitomycin C before culture to prevent development of allosuppression and cytotoxic lymphocytes. Positive allogeneic effects were operationally defined as superior helper effects (to generate greater antibody forming cell responses) with T cells allogeneic rather than syngeneic to the responding B cells. Thus, addition of allogeneic T cells resulted in many more antibody forming cells than did equal numbers of syngeneic T cells, and fewer allogeneic than syngeneic T cells were necessary to generate comparable responses.
With congenic, recombinant, and mutant mouse lines, genetic differences in the H-2 complex and those associated with Mls were each sufficient to provide positive allogeneic effects. With intra-H-2 recombinants, differences at either I or D were sufficient. A disparity at H-2K alone, as provided by the H-2 mutant B6.C-H-2ba against the parental line C57BL/6By, also induced helper effects. The significance of these results is discussed.