Splenic T or B cells, which have been depleted of adherent cells by passage through Sephadex G10 columns, fail to stimulate allogeneic lymph-node cells (LN) in primary mixed lymphocyte reactions (MLR) both when the stimulating antigens are H-2 plus Ia and H-2K only. This failure cannot be ascribed to lack of viability of G10-passed cells, since by dye exclusion they are 95 percent viable and can be induced to proliferate in vitro by exposure to LPS or allogeneic cells. Stimulation of MLR activity could be restored by addition of small numbers of plastic-adherent spleen cells (SAC) which had to be syngeneic with the G10-passed stimulator cells. Further, SAC alone without G10-passed cells induced MLR activity which was, on a cell-for-cell basis, 40 times more effective than that induced by unfractionated spleen cells. If the SAC were first depleted of Ia+ cells, no stimulation was obtained. This result was observed both in cases where responder and stimulator strains differed across the entire H-2-gene complex and in a mutant-wild type combination (CBA and H-2km1) in which the difference between the two strains has been mapped to the K region only. These results indicate that Ia+ SAC contain a subset(s) of cells which are responsible for stimulation in MLR, regardless of whether the alloantigenic differences involve either Ia or H-2K. In contrast to the inability of G10-passed splenic cells to stimulate MLR activity, these cells were able to stimulate CTL from cytotoxic T lymphocyte precursors (CTL.P) in combinations where the antigenic differences between responder and stimulator were at the entire H-2 complex or at H-2K only. However, SAC were more potent stimulators of cell-mediated lympholysis (CML) activity on a cell-for-cell basis. Thus, either CTL.P can be stimulated by nonadherent spleen cells or they are specifically sensitive to a small subpopulation of contaminating cells that cannot readily be removed by G10 passage.
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