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The generation of T helper cells in vitro requires macrophages or macrophage-derived factors such as genetically related macrophage factor (GRF) or nonspecific macrophage factor (NMF). However, there is a basic difference of T helper cell induction when using particulate antigens. The present study demonstrates that this difference is based on the activation of two different T cell subsets. GRF activates short-lived 'T1' cells which amplify the induction of T2 cells, which are the helper cell precursors. Thus, the genetic restriction of T helper cell induction seen with soluble antigen or GRF lies on the level of macrophage or GRF interaction with T1 cells. NMF (or macrophages) and particulate antigens directly activate the helper cell precursor (T2) indicating no requirement for T1-T2 cooperation. The direct activation of the helper cell precursor with particulate antigens does not require histocompatible macrophages or NMF from histocompatible macrophages. The present results may explain some of the discrepancies reported in the literature concerning the genetic requirements and specificity of T cell activation.


Journal article


J Immunol

Publication Date





206 - 209


Animals, Antigens, Antilymphocyte Serum, Genes, Hemocyanins, Lymphocyte Activation, Macrophages, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Inbred CBA, Sepharose, T-Lymphocytes, Thymectomy, Time Factors