The frequency of phosphorylcholine specific B cells in conventional and germfree balb/C Balb/c

N. H. Sigal, P. J. Gearhart, N. R. Klinman

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61 Scopus citations


The frequency of B cells specific for phosphorylcholine (PC) in spleens of nonimmune conventionally reared and germfree adult Balb/c mice was determined by an in vitro splenic focus technique. Analysis of spleen cells from 11 conventionally reared donors revealed an average of 19.1 PC specific clonal precursor cells/106 donor B cells when calculated utilizing a cloning efficiency previously determined for the in vitro splenic focus technique of 4%. This number is one tenth the frequency determined for 2,4 dinitrophenyl and 2,4,6 trinitrophenyl specific B cells; however, idiotypic and isoelectric analysis reveal that the majority of B cells specific for PC yield monoclonal antibodies which share the TEPC 15 idiotype and contain a homogenous IgM peak with a pK of 4.60. Thus, this single clone appears on the average to be represented by more than 103 B cells in conventionally reared nonimmune adults. A similar frequency for precursor cells of this clonotype was found in an analysis of 7 germfree adult mice so that the high frequency of B cells of this clonotype appears to be independent of previous antigenic stimulation. Among the 11 conventionally reared donors analyzed, frequencies varied from 1.6 to 52/106 B cells, an extreme degree of variation when compared to the almost invariant frequencies observed for 2,4 dinitrophenyl, 2,4,6 trinitrophenyl, and fluoroscein. This variation is interpreted as a reflection of the life cycle of a single clone with a possible role for antigen implied by smaller variations observed in germfree mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1354-1358
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1975

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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