C3H/HeJ mice do not respond to the polyclonal B-cell activator lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from Escherichia coli; this was first described by Sultzer who observed that mice of this strain did not respond to an intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of LPS as measured by the accumulation of leukocytes in the peritoneal cavity. Neither were C3H/HeJ mice as susceptible to LPS toxcitiy (1). It was later reported that LPS-induced mitogenesis (2,3), adjuvanticity (4), and the appearance of Ia antigens on B lymphocytes as induced by LPS, (5) was also absent in C3H/HeJ mice. However, lymphocytes from these mice respond normally to the polyclonal B-cell activators purified protein derivative of tuberculin (2,6) and dextran sulfate and have also been reported to respond normally to concanavalin A (Con A) (2). Furthermore, the immune responses to sheep erythrocytes (7) and soluble thymus-dependent antigens (4) are normal in C3H/HeJ mice. Unresponsiveness to LPS in C3H/HeJ mice has been found to Be due to a defect in a single gene or a set of linked genes (3,8) which has been mapped between the major urinary protein locus and the locus coding for polysyndactyly on chromosome 4. (1)
We have reported that injection of LPS into mice of an LPS-responsive strain causes a shift in the Con A dose-response curve of cultured spleen cells, suppressing the low does response (9). Therefore, we tested the Con A proliferative response in cultures of normal or LPS-activated spleen cells from LPS-responder (C3H/Tif) and LPS-nonresponder (C3H/HeJ) mice. We report here that C3H/HeJ spleen cells respond poorly to low concentrations of Con A (0.05-0.1 μg/ml). Injection of LPS 2 days before culture inhibits the response to low doses of Con A in cultures of C3H/Tif spleen cells but has no inhibitory effect on the dose response profile of C3H/HeJ spleen cells. Furthermore, the low dose Con A response of spleen cells is dependent upon the presence of an Ia-positive cell. (2) The role of Ia-positive cells in the Con A response of C3H/Tif and C3H/HeJ spleen cells is described.