We report here the role of B cell stimulatory factors in the induction of antigen-specific proliferation of affinity-purified small B lymphocytes. TI-1 antigens such as TNP-LPS and TNP-BA induced proliferation of hapten-binding B cells in the absence of exogenous B cell stimulatory factors. TI-2 antigens such as TNP-Ficoll required the co-stimulator BSF-1 to induce antigen-specific proliferation, and this response could be augmented by IL 1. TD antigens such as TNP-OVA were unable to induce antigen-specific proliferation either in the absence or presence of B cell stimulatory factors, and showed an absolute activation requirement for carrier-specific helper T cells. No role for IL 2 or BCGF II could be found in the factor-dependent proliferative response of hapten-binding B cells to TI-2 antigens, either as primary co-stimulators or as modulators of the response obtained with TNP-Ficoll, BSF-1, and IL 1. In contrast, concentrations of IFN-gamma that were nontoxic for normal B cells and B cell hybrids effectively abrogated the proliferative response of affinity-purified cells to TNP-Ficoll, BSF-1, and IL 1. By all of these criteria, the B cell activation requirements of TI-2 antigens appear to be identical to those previously published for soluble anti-IgM antibodies.

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