Immunosuppressed cultures of murine spleen cells, partly deprived of T cells and antigen-stimulated, can be reconstituted to near full activity in their antibody-forming cell response with murine rheumatoid factors (RF). The dose of RF required for recovery of 50% of the reconstitutable immune response was 10-100 ng and reconstitution was blocked by intact murine IgG added to the cultures. IgG subclass specificity of RF was demonstrated; RF specific for IgG2a was more potent than RF specific for IgG1 in reconstituting the response. Synergy was observed between RF added at culture initiation and late-acting B-cell differentiation factors. The greater the degree of T-cell deprivation, the more stringent the conditions needed for reconstitution. Suitable conditions for reconstitution with profound T-cell depletion included the limited reconstitution by specific RF, the synergistic action of RF with late-acting T-cell-replacing supernatants, and multiple additions of a number of RFs to the cultures on Days 0, 1, and 2. RF was also shown to block Fc-dependent immunosuppression by added antigenantibody complexes. These results are interpreted as favoring the hypothesis put forward previously that the normal production of RF acts to reduce T-cell dependency by preventing negative Fc signal transmission by immune complexes on the B-cell surface. Abnormal production of RF may be a primary destabilizer of the immune responses leading to autoimmunity.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
’ This work is supported by the Arthritis Society of Canada. ’ To whom correspondence should be addressed.