A model is described in which expression of IgG secondary antihapten responses of large magnitude can be initiated in vitro without resorting to in vivo boosting prior to culture. The number of IgG plaque-forming cells (PFC) is frequently as much as 100-fold greater than that of IgM PFC. Spleen cells from mice primed with trinitrophenylated keyhole limpet hemocyanin (TNP-KLH) several months earlier are stimulated in vitro to produce an anti-TNP plaque-forming cell response 7-10 days later. The in vitro IgG response can be elicited with either a thymus-dependent antigen (TNP-KLH) or thymus-independent antigens (TNP-T4 bacteriophage or DNP-dextran). The kinetics of the responses to these two forms of antigen differ in that the thymus-independent response peaks two days earlier. The IgG response to both forms of antigen requires the presence of 2-mercaptoethanol (2-ME) even though macrophages are not depleted prior to culture. In the absence of the reducing agent both thymus-dependent and thymus-independent IgG responses were diminished ≥90%. The magnitude of the response to thymus-independent antigens emphasizes the ability of these materials to elicit IgG expression in memory B cells provided optimal conditions for memory development and in vitro expression exist.
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