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Margaret Mead
Research Article

Effect of helper T cells on the primary in vitro production of delayed- type hypersensitivity to influenza virus


Injection of mice with infectious or noninfectious preparations of influenza virus induces the formation of T cells which, when added to primary tissue cultures of normal spleen cells exposed to influenza virus, enhance the generation of effector T cells which mediate delayed- type hypersensitivity (DTH) reaction. The enhancing cells possess Thy-1 and Ly-1 surface antigens are radioresistant and antigen-specific. If infectious virus was used to stimulate the DTH response in vitro, help was delivered whether homologous or heterologous A strain influenza virus was used to generate the helper T cells (Th) in vivo. In contrast, only Th cells generated using homologous virus were effective if noninfectious virus was used to stimulate the DTH response in vitro. Peak helper activity occurred 2 d after virus injection and the Th cells were only effective if added to the primary cultures within 24 h after addition of the stimulating antigen. The Th cells enhanced the generation of both classes of DTH effector cells, i.e., those that are Ly-1 positive and IA-subregion restricted and those that are Ly-2,3 positive and K,D-region restricted. The activity of the Th cells was found to be IA-subregion restricted and this was shown to operate at the level of the stimulator cells so that the delivery of help to the responder cells was not H-2 restricted. The possibility that the Th cells might be a precursor to the Ly-1 positive IA subregion-restricted DTH effector cells is discussed.