The role of thymus and bone marrow-derived cells in the in vitro response to the dinitrophenyl (DNP) determinant was studied using the millipore filter well technique for spleen organ cultures. Antibodies to DNP were assayed by the technique of inactivation of DNP-coupled T-4 bacteriophage. It was found that spleens of mice total-body irradiated at 750 R, treated with bone marrow and thymus cells after exposure and immunized against rabbit serum albumin (RSA) were able to produce antibodies to DNP when challenged in vitro with DNP-RSA. Such a response was not produced by spleen explants from x-irradiated mice treated with either thymus or bone marrow cells. Neither were antibodies to DNP produced by spleens of animals repopulated with thymus and bone marrow cells, but not immunized with the carrier. This carrier effect was manifested when the irradiated mice were treated with RSA and thymus cells 6-8 days before administration of the bone marrow cells. Yet, such an effect was not observed when the RSA and bone marrow cells were given 6-8 days before injection of the thymus cells. Thus, the thymus-derived cells appear to play the role of cells sensitive to the carrier (RSA), whereas the bone marrow seems to be involved in the production of antibodies.
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