Recognition of hapten-modified cells in vitro by human T lymphocytes

Michael F Seldin, R. R. Rich, S. L. Abramson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Clearer definition of the recognitive structures of human T lymphocytes for antigens will be required to elucidate the molecular basis of diseases and immunological responses induced or regulated by normal or abnormal T-cell function. For this purpose we have investigated the cellular requirements for immune responses in vitro to trinitrophenyl-conjugated peripheral blood mononuclear cells. The responding cell was characterized as a T cell on the basis of rosetting with sheep erythrocytes. T-cell recognition of hapten in proliferative responses depended upon presentation of antigen in an appropriate stimulator-cell context. Neither autologous hapten-modified erythrocytes nor T cells restimulated responses of in vitro-primed lymphocytes. Moreover, hapten-conjugated non-T cells were more effective than modified unfractionated cells in restimulating proliferative responses. Both macrophages and non-T lymphocytes effectively restimulated hapten-conjugate responses. Cell-mixing experiments indicated that the failure of haptenated T cells to stimulate proliferative responses was not because of a lack of fresh macrophages; these experiments suggested instead that T cells do not express appropriate structures necessary to present haptenic determinants in an immunogenic form. Hapten-modified T cells, however, were capable of inducing primed lymphocytes to become efficient cytotoxic effector cells, indicating that T-cell recognitive units for stimulation of proliferative and cytoxic responses are different. These data support the concept that for induction of proliferative responses, human T cells recognize conventional antigens in association with HLA-D region-encoded Ia-like molecules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)967-976
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1979
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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