The immune response to the synthetic terpolymer GAT is controlled by MHC-linked Ir gene(s). We show in this paper that antigen-presenting cells and T cells from mice belonging to two nonresponder strains (SJL and DBA/1) can present and recognize GAT, respectively. This has been measured with a T cell proliferation assay of GAT-primed lymph node cells. In order to detect T cell proliferation among GAT-primed lymph node cells from DBA/1 mice, it is necessary to treat the cells with monoclonal anti-Lyt-2 antibodies and complement (C) before the assay. These conclusions were further verified with SJL mice, when a T cell line derived from LN cells was used. We have shown that after immunization with GAT, specific T helper cells can be generated in the lymph nodes of SJL mice but not in the lymph nodes of DBA/1 mice. Furthermore, GAT-specific T helper cells can be detected in the spleen of SJL mice after immunizations with GAT, provided these spleen cells are pretreated with monoclonal anti-Lyt-2 antibodies + C or mild irradiation. Together, these results support the general idea that nonresponsiveness can be explained by a regulatory imbalance rather than by discrete cellular "defects."

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