Specific tolerance of BALB/c spleen cells to phosphorylcholine (PC) was induced in vitro by treatment with antibodies specific for the idiotype of TEPC-15 myeloma protein (anti-T15id) and a PC-containing antigen, R36a. The presence of anti-T15id antibody for at least 2 days was necessary to achieve a full level of suppression (>98%) of anti-PC production in the presence of R36a. The anti-PC response of a nylon wool-separated B cell population was also greatly suppressed (94%) only after a 48-hr treatment with anti-T15id antibody plus antigen. In contrast, either isolated B or unseparated spleen cells treated with anti-T15id alone (without antigen) were fully responsive to PC. Kinetic studies inducated that treatment of cells with anti-T15id antibodies either in the presence or absence of R36a resulted in a gradual suppression of anti-PC responses at a similar rate during an initial 12-hr period. However, further treatment (24 hr) of cells with anti-T15id antibody alone led to recovery of anti-PC response from the suppression, whereas incubation with the anti-idiotype antibody plus R36a induced further suppression. These results indicate that anti-idiotype antibodies can directly inactivate B cells, and this inactivation becomes irreversible only after a continuous exposure to the antibodies in the presence of specific antigen.


This work was supported by Research Grant R01 AI 15446 from the United States Public Health Service.

This content is only available via PDF.