B cell and Th cell functions were assessed in mice undergoing a graft-vs-host reaction (GvHR) in response to minor histocompatibility Ag by using the plaque-forming cell (PFC) response to the T-independent Ag TNP-Brucella abortus and the T-dependent Ag TNP-SRBC. Bone marrow plus spleen cells from B10.D2 mice were transplanted into lethally irradiated B10.D2 (syngeneic recipient) or H-2d-compatible BALB/c (allogeneic recipient) to produce a chronic form of GvHR. BALB/c recipients of an allogeneic transplant demonstrated a marked and proportional lymphoid depletion of the spleen with normal percentages of B cells, T cells, and CD4+ and CD8+ T cell subsets. Mice with GvHR made normal numbers of PFC/10(5) spleen cells in response to the T-independent Ag, but a significantly depressed number of PFC/10(5) spleen cells to the T-dependent Ag compared with normal B10.D2 mice and with irradiated B10.D2 recipients of syngeneic B10.D2 marrow plus spleen cells. Mice undergoing the minor Ag GvHR made significantly larger numbers of PFC/10(5) spleen cells after secondary immunization with TNP-SRBC compared with controls. In vitro assays demonstrated that B cells from mice with GvHR responded to T help from normal B10.D2 mice and that T cells from mice with GvHR provided help to normal B cells after in vivo immunization. These data demonstrate that radiation chimeras with GvHR in response to minor histocompatibility Ag have relatively normal B cell function and an apparent defect in T helper cell function that is reversible by immunization with appropriate Ag.

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