Young adult SJL mice (8 weeks of age or younger) do not mount a delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) response due to the failure of a macrophage antigen-presenting cell (APC) to induce TDTH effector cells. SJL mice that are 10 weeks of age or older produce a normal DTH response. This genetic defect provides a model for the investigation of functional subpopulations of APC which interact with specific subpopulations of T cells. In this study, we used this model to examine whether macrophage APC impairment involves APC-dependent immune responses other than DTH. No age-dependent differences were found in the ability of spleen cells from SJL mice to proliferate and synthesize interleukin-2 in response to concanavalin A; nor was the proliferative response to a variety of antigenic stimuli affected. In addition, no differences were observed in the contact sensitivity response or in the in vitro generation of allogeneic cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). In contrast, the in vivo generation of allogeneic CTL was significantly depressed in 6-week-old SJL and could not be restored to normal by the adoptive transfer of macrophages from DTH responsive 12-week-old SJL mice. Finally, examination of the humoral response of 6-week-old SJL indicated no impairment in IgM or IgG serum antibody levels or in the induction of splenic B cells. Thus, the macrophage APC regulating the induction of TDTH effector cells does not appear to participate in the induction of T helper cells for other cellular and humoral responses. These data support the hypothesis that distinct subpopulations of APC may regulate the induction of specific immune effector mechanisms.
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