Ontogeny of specific T cells

A. M. Silverstein, S. Segal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Immunologic function in the mammalian fetus matures in a stepwise fashion, with competence developing to different antigens at different gestational ages. These maturational events are under very precise control: the fetal lamb forms antibody against hemocyanin (KLH) only after 80 days gestation and against egg albumin (EA) only after 120 days gestation. It has not been clear what happens, at the critical age for a given antigen, to render the animal competent. Fetal lambs were primed in utero at 82 days gestation with dinitrophenyl (DNP) KLH i.v., and some of them given a supplement of EA in adjuvant one wk later. A boost with DNP EA at 105 days resulted in a secondary anti DNP response within one wk in all animals receiving the EA supplement, but in no animals deprived of the supplement. These data confirm that EA specific helper T cells are available to the fetus prior to its ability to form anti EA antibody, and suggest that the critical maturational event may be the first appearance of specific B cells for the given antigen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)No. 4602
JournalFederation Proceedings
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1975
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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