Protection and delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) to the facultative intracellular bacterium Listeria monocytogenes (L.m.) were studied in allogeneic and syngeneic bone marrow chimeras. Lethally irradiated AKR (H-2k) mice were successfully reconstituted with marrow cells from C57BL/10 (B10) (H-2b), B10 H-2-recombinant strains or syngeneic mice. Irradiated AKR mice reconstituted with marrow cells from H-2-compatible B10.BR mice, [BR----AKR], as well as syngeneic marrow cells, [AKR----AKR], showed a normal level of responsiveness to the challenge stimulation with the listeria antigens when DTH was evaluated by footpad reactions. These mice also showed vigorous activities in acquired resistance to the L.m. By contrast, chimeric mice that had total or partial histoincompatibility at the H-2 determinants between donor and recipient, [B10----AKR], [B10.AQR----AKR], [B10.A(4R)----AKR], or [B10.A(5R)----AKR], were almost completely unresponsive in DTH and antibacterial immunity. However, when [B10----AKR] H-2-incompatible chimeras had been immunized with killed L.m. before challenge with live L.m., these mice manifested considerable DTH and resistance to L.m. These observations suggest that compatibility at the entire MHC between donor and recipient is required for bone marrow chimeras to be able to manifest DTH and protection against L.m. after a short-term immunization schedule. However, this requirement is overcome by a preceding or more prolonged period of immunization with L.m. antigens. These antigens, together with marrow-derived antigen-presenting cells, can then stimulate and expand cell populations that are restricted to the MHC (H-2) products of the donor type.

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