Effect of gamma radiation on resting B lymphocytes. II. Functional characterization of the antigen-presentation defect

J. D. Ashwell, M. K. Jenkins, R. H. Schwartz

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The effect of radiation on three discrete Ag-presentation functions in resting B cells was examined: 1) Ag uptake and processing, 2) expression of processed Ag in the context of functional class II molecules, and 3) provision of necessary co-stimulatory, or 'second', signals. Analysis of radiation's effect on B cell presentation of intact vs fragmented Ag or its effect on presentation by Ag-pulsed B cells indicated that damage to Ag uptake and processing could not account for the bulk of the radiation-induced Ag-presentation defect. Experiments with phosphatidylinositol hydrolysis as an indirect measure of TCR occupacy suggested that irradiation caused a fairly rapid (within 1 to 2 h) decrease in the ability of the B cell APC to display a stimulatory combination of Ag and class II molecule. Ag dose-response analyses demonstrated that when presenting a fragment of the Ag pigeon cytochrome c to a T cell clone, 3000 rad-treated B cell APC were able to stimulate approximately 50% as much phosphatidylinositol turnover as unirradiated B cells. It was also found that, in contrast to their inability to initiate T cell proliferation, and similarly to chemically cross-linked splenocytes, heavily irradiated resting B cells plus Ag induced a state of Ag hyporesponsiveness in T cell clones. This effect on T cells had the same Ag- and MHC-specificity as did receptor occupancy required for proliferation, indicating that heavily irradiated resting B cells bear functional class II molecules. Co-culture of T cells with allogeneic B cells and syngeneic heavily irradiated B cells or chemically cross-linked splenic APC plus Ag resulted in T cell proliferation and interfered with the induction of the hyporesponsive state. This co-stimulatory function was radiosensitive in resting allogeneic B cells. Together, these data suppport the hypothesis that the major functional consequences of radiation to resting B cell APC are a reduction in the effective display of Ag plus class II molecules and, probably what is more important, a loss in the ability to provide APC-derived co-stimulatory signals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2536-2544
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988


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