Murine spleen cells may be made unresponsive in vitro to an immunogenic TNP-carrier complex by pretreatment with TNP-HSA, a polyvalent but nonimmunogenic molecule. This induction of specific unresponsiveness is partially prevented if antiserum against mouse light chains is incorporated into the incubation medium. Treatment of already suppressed spleen cells with this antiserum will not reverse the unresponsiveness. These results may be interpreted as evidence for the presence of functional immunoglobulin receptors on the surface of B cell precursors of antibody-forming cells. Unresponsive spleen cells may be rescued by treatment with a mixture of pancreatic enzymes, showing that the unresponsiveness was not due to a direct cytotoxic mechanism. Pretreatment of spleen cells with the mixture of pancreatic enzymes prevents the induction of the unresponsive state by TNP-HSA. The possible mechanisms for these phenomena are discussed.
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