In the present study we examined the effects of antisera directed against guinea pig Ia antigens on the ability of TNP-conjugated macrophages to stimulate TNP-specific T lymphocyte proliferation. Treatment of macrophages with anti-Ia sera for 1 hr before, 1 hr immediately after, or as late as 24 hr after TNP-modification resulted in a reduced ability to stimulate the TNP-specific T cell. The inhibition produced by anti-Ia sera was specific and did not result from interference with the ability of macrophages to process TNP-conjugated membrane antigens in a nonspecific manner. Brief treatment with anti-Ia serum did not result in inhibition of Ia-antigen synthesis nor could evidence of carry-over of anti-Ia antibody into the lymphocyte cultures be obtained. These results demonstrate that anti-Ia sera interfere with the development of a TNP-specific immunogen on the macrophage surface and strongly suggest that an association exists between TNP-modified membrane proteins and Ia antigens on the macrophage surface.

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