Antigen-binding cells (ABC) from spleens of HGG-immunized, bursectomized agammaglobulinemic (Bx) chickens were detected by direct autoradiography with 125I-HGG and by sandwich autoradiography with HGG plus 125I-goat-anti-HGG. The specificity of antigen binding was demonstrated by 1) inhibition of binding of 125I-HGG by preincubation with unlabeled HGG and 2) a specific increase in ABC after immunization. The ABC from Bx chickens were not B cells, as shown by the virtual absence of immunoglobulin-bearing cells in this population and by the lack of inhibition of antigen binding by anti-immunoglobulin sera. The ABC were not macrophages and did not bind HGG via Fc receptors because their frequency was unchanged after passage over nylon wool or incubation with antigen-antibody complexes. The temperature dependence and azide stabilization of the ABC were characteristic of antigenbinding T cells. Therefore, T cells capable of binding soluble antigen were demonstrated in Bx chicken spleen, which is free of contamination by B cells and passively adsorbed antibody.
This work was supported by National Cancer Institute Grant CA-08748 and American Cancer Society Grant IM-28E.