The helper function of T cells primed and irradiated in vivo was tested in vitro by the Mishell-Dutton technique. Spleen cells from mice carrier-primed with HRBC and exposed to 50 to 2000 rads of x-radiation were assayed for their ability to help syngeneic normal spleen cells to mount an in vitro anti-hapten antibody response after stimulation with the conjugate TNP-HRBC. The anti-TNP response was evaluated by the Jerne technique. The helper activity was titrated by adding graded numbers of carrier-primed spleen cells to a constant number of normal spleen cells. The slope of the initial linear portion of the response-cell dose titration curve was taken as an estimate of the helper activity and found to decrease with increasing the x-ray dose. The curve describing the remaining helper activity as a function of the radiation dose shows the presence of two components, one radiosensitive, the other, radioresistant. This suggests the existence either of helper cells at different stages of activation or of two cell subpopulations participating in the helper function.
This work was supported by CNEN-Euratom Contract. Publication No. 1507 of the Euratom Biology Division.