We studied the response to thymus-independent type 2 (type 2) Ag in mice suppressed from birth with anti-Ia antibody. Although these mice have significantly reduced numbers of surface IgM+ cells and reduced or absent levels of Ia-restricted Th cell activity, their IgM antibody response to the type 2 Ag TNP-Ficoll was unaffected whereas that to the prototypic thymus-dependent Ag SRBC was predictably eliminated. These data suggest that an in vivo antibody response can be made to type 2 Ag in the absence of Ia-dependent cellular interactions. The surface IgM+IgD-Ia- B cells that are found in the anti-Ia antibody-suppressed mouse may represent an expanded population of Ia-independent, type 2 Ag-sensitive B cells normally present as a smaller proportion of the splenic lymphocyte population. Thymus-dependent responses, which have been shown to have an absolute requirement for an Ia-dependent interaction, are absent in these animals.

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