In order to study the nature and immunoregulatory capacity of lymphocytes from agammaglobulinemic chickens, line 63 inbred chickens were injected iv with 4 mg of specifically purified goat anti-chicken IgM (µ) antibody on day 14 of embryonation, and surgically bursectomized immediately after hatching. At 12 weeks of age these chickens were agammaglobulinemic and free of immunoglobulin-bearing B cells as assessed by immunofluorescence and lactoperoxidase catalyzed 125I cell surface-labeling techniques. Lymphocytes from these birds lacked the capacity to restore immunoglobulin synthesis in chemically induced agammaglobulinemic birds, whereas, their T cell function was retained as determined by their in vitro responsiveness to phytohemagglutinin (PHA) and concanavalin A (Con A). Of special significance was the observation that the adoptive transplantation of splenic, bone marrow, or thymic lymphocytes from agammaglobulinemic chicks into normal newly hatched syngeneic recipients rendered the recipients severely hypogammaglobulinemic or agammaglobulinemic. In contrast with the agammaglobulinemic donors, the hypogammaglobulinemic recipients possessed B lymphocytes. The ability of effector cells from the anti-µ bursectomized (anti-µ-Bx) donors to transfer agammaglobulin was abrogated by pretreatment with anti-chicken thymocyte antiserum plus complement.

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This work was supported by Grant AI 12273 from the National Institutes of Health and GB31001 from the National Science Foundation.

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