The ontogeny of antibody responses to trinitrophenylated (TNP) thymus-independent (TI) antigens was compared in two partially inbred strains of chicken: the SC strain (B2/B2 genotype) and the FP strain (B15/B22 genotype). In the SC chicken, maturation of both the splenic anti-TNP plaque-forming cell (PFC) response and the 19S hemagglutinating antibody response to TI type 2 (TI-2) antigens, TNP-Ficoll and TNP-dextran, were delayed to a significantly later time in ontogeny (20 wk of age) than in the FP chickens (9 wk of age). Four- to 6-wk-old SC chickens were virtually immunologically unresponsive to stimulation with TI-2 antigens. The TI-1 antigen TNP-Brucella abortus was equally immunogenic in both FP and SC chickens of different age groups tested. Kinetic studies of the primary PFC response to TNP-Ficoll in immunologically mature chickens of the SC and FP strains demonstrated a peak PFC response 4 days after antigen injection, followed by a rapid decline in numbers of splenic PFC/spleen on day 6. The results of these studies are discussed in relation to earlier observations that suggested there may be a delay or a defect in the ontogeny of the thymus in the SC chicken.

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