Transgenic (Tg) mice expressing a foreign Ag, hen egg lysozyme (HEL), under control of the αA-crystallin promoter ('HEL-Tg' mice) develop immunotolerance to HEL attributed to the expression of HEL in their thymus. In this paper we analyzed the immune response in double (Dbl)-Tg mice generated by mating the HEL-Tg mice with Tg mice that express HEL Abs on their B cells ('Ig-Tg' mice). The B cell compartment of the Dbl-Tg mice was unaffected by the HEL presence and was essentially identical to that of the Ig-Tg mice. A partial breakdown of tolerance was seen in the T cell response to HEL of the Dbl-Tg mice, i.e., their lymphocyte proliferative response against HEL was remarkably higher than that of the HEL-Tg mice. T-lymphocytes of both Dbl-Tg and Ig-Tg mice responded to HEL at concentrations drastically lower than those found stimulatory to lymphocytes of the wild-type controls. Cell mixing experiments demonstrated that 1) the lymphocyte response against low concentrations of HEL is due to the exceedingly efficient Ag presenting capacity of the Ab expressing B cells and 2) breakdown of tolerance in Dbl-Tg mice can also be attributed to the APC capacity of B cells, that sensitize in vivo and stimulate in vitro populations oft cells with low affinity toward HEL, assumed to be escapees of thymic deletion. These results thus indicate that T cell tolerance can be partially overcome by the highly potent Ag presenting capacity of Ab expressing B cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy