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Eur J Immunol. 1984 Dec;14(12):1127-30.

Isotypes and specificities of immunoglobulins produced by germ-free mice fed chemically defined ultrafiltered "antigen-free" diet.


The regulation of the "spontaneously" occurring ("background") Ig synthesis of mice has been studied by determining the numbers of IgM-, IgG- and IgA-secreting cells and a part of the IgM antibody-specificity repertoire in spleen, bone marrow (BM) and mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN) of conventional and "antigen-free" mice. These antigen-free mice were germ-free raised and fed an ultrafiltered solution of chemically defined low molecular weight nutrients, and thus devoid of exogenous antigenic stimulation. The secretion of IgM, IgG and IgA by spleen, BM and MLN cells was assessed in the protein A plaque assay, while specific IgM antibody-secreting cells were detected by plaque assays specific for differently haptenated sheep red blood cells. In general, antigen-free and conventional mice were found to have roughly equal numbers of IgM-secreting cells in spleen and BM. The number of IgG-secreting cells in the spleen of antigen-free mice was the same as in the spleen of conventional mice, but in the BM their number was 3-5-fold decreased. About one half of the antigen-free mice did not have MLN, and in the half which did, 5 times less IgM- and more than 100-fold less IgG-secreting cells were found as compared with conventional mice. The number of IgA-secreting cells in antigen-free mice was drastically decreased in all three organs tested. The antibody-specificity repertoire of the "background" IgM-secreting cells in the spleen and BM of the antigen-free and conventional mice was much alike. This indicates that in antigen-free mice the available antibody repertoires are established independently of exogenous and/or mitogenic stimulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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