Individual mice were tested for their proliferative T-cell response to H-Y- and H-3-incompatible stimulator cells in secondary mixed lymphocyte culture. Responders expressing the H-2bhaplotype were restricted in their response to stimulators presenting H-Y and H-3 in the context of H-2b. Lymphocytes from individual B10 females proliferated in response to H-Y presented with I-Aband Db. The ratio of I-Ab/Db-restricted responses varied between individual responders, indicating significant qualitative variation between genetically identical responders. The majority of the proliferative response in all tested mice was restricted to the entire H-2bhaplotype suggesting complementation of I-Ab- and Db-region genes in presenting the H-Y antigen. Similar observations were made in the response of individual B10.LP mice to the H-3 antigen. H-3-specific, proliferating T cells were restricted to H-3 antigen presented with KbAband Dbwith significant variation between individuals in their preference for H-3 plus KbAband Db. In contrast to the response to H-Y, the proliferative response to H-3 plus H-2bcould be accounted for by the summation of the proliferative responses to H-3. plus KbAband Db. These observations demonstrate that the proliferative response to non-H-2 H antigens in the context of I-region determinants is not a sine qua non for the T-cell response to these antigens. Further, the individual qualitative and quantitative variation observed with individual genetically identical mice has strong implications for our knowledge of intrastrain variation in immune responsiveness and the characterization of inbred strains for immune responsiveness.
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