Spleen cells from mice injected with 2 to 50 µg bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) have a reduced capacity to make an antibody response in vitro to trinitrophenylated sheep erythrocytes (TNP-SRBC) when tested 1 to 7 days later. Recovery is gradual, and these cells are fully functional 2 weeks after in vivo LPS treatment. Unresponsiveness resides in the nonadherent splenic cell populations, and can be shown to have a suppressive cell component, which is irradiation sensitive and has some characteristics of a thymus-derived lymphocyte (T cell). In addition, neither bone marrow-derived lymphocytes (B cells) nor T cells in the spleens of LPS-treated mice are functionally normal in their abilities to cooperate during an antibody response in vitro. LPS-B cells cooperated poorly with nylon wool-enriched T cells from normal mice but cooperated well with irradiated carrier-primed T cells or nylon wool-purified splenic T cells from carrier-primed mice. LPS-T cells have a reduced capacity to interact with normal B cells and appear to contain a suppressor cell component. These results indicate that the effects of exposure of immunocompetent cells to LPS are multifocal and can include suppression as well as stimulation of antibody formation.
This work was supported by United States Public Health Service Grant CA20078.